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Whitney Stakes: Cody’s Wish Looking to Solidify His Standing as America’s Top Horse

Written by: Brian Zipse
Updated August 3, 2023
12 min read

Whitney Stakes Odds and Post Position

Check out our predictions and odds for the 2023 Whitney Stakes at Saratoga!

J RosarioC Brown
J VelazquezT Pletcher
L SaezB Cox
F PratB Cox
I Ortiz JrR Dutrow
J AlvaradoW Mott

Odds provided by author Brian Zipse.

Whitney Stakes Picks and Best Bets

Here are my plays ($60 in total)

  • $10 Trifecta Part Wheel - Cody’s Wish over Zandon, Charge It, and Giant Game over Zandon, Charge It, and Giant Game = $60 
  • If you're playing only to win, go with my top pick Cody’s Wish (3/5)

To ensure your bets, check out our Horse Racing Calculator, here!



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Whitney Stakes Saratoga Predictions

Currently the top-rated horse in America, Cody’s Wish will be in search of his fifth consecutive Grade 1 score when he headlines a field of six older males entered in Saturday’s $1 million Whitney Stakes at Saratoga.

Trained by Bill Mott, the son of Curlin has won six in a row overall, including victories in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile last fall and the Met Mile most recently.

Unbeaten at a flat mile, Cody’s Wish will look to stretch out in the distance as he navigates two turns and 9-furlongs on Saturday at the Spa.

Chief among his challengers in the historic feature will be the three horses who finished closest behind him in the $1 million Met Mile eight weeks ago at Belmont Park.

Zandon and White Abarrio dueled down the Belmont stretch to finish second and third behind Cody’s Wish respectively last time, beaten 3 1/4 lengths by the impressive winner. 

Hoping to turn the tables, both colts were Grade 1 winners at 9 furlongs as 3-year-olds last season. 

Charge It, meanwhile, faded to fourth in the Met Mile, but is the only one with a race in between. The son of Tapit won the Grade 2 Suburban by 4 3/4 lengths four weeks ago at Belmont Park

Whitney Stakes Predictions and Race Analysis

Cody’s Wish

The deserving favorite will be looking to solidify his standing as America’s top horse and the early favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Classic. A fully mature 5-year-old, the son of Curlin only seems to be getting better with each start under the watchful eye of Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. 

I believe his strong win in the Grade 1 Met Mile eight weeks ago was his finest performance yet. Still, this race presents some questions. He has never won beyond a mile and this track is the Graveyard of Champions. 

Having said that, he looked great at the Spa last summer and gives every indication of a horse who will handle 9-furlongs. I don’t like the odds, but I really expect him to win once again. He is the top pick.


It’s hard to knock what this son of Upstart has done throughout his career. His late rally is a given and he has racked up over $1.7 million while running against top competition. Having said that, he has only won twice in eleven career starts.  

Still, there are plenty of strong performances within his seven consecutive losses, including a pair of solid performances over the Saratoga surface last summer. The 9-furlong trip also seems to suit him well.

I really don’t like his chances to outrun Cody’s Wish down the lane, but as consistent as he is, it’s hard to believe he will not be in the exotics picture once again. 

Charge It

After fading a bit down the lane of the Met Mile, this Todd Pletcher trainee should have regained some confidence last time when he dominated the Grade 2 Suburban last month. 

It was a rather weak field that afternoon, but he certainly looked good. The jury is still out on what he can become, but the 4-year-old son of Tapit still probably has the highest ceiling of anyone in the race not named Cody’s Wish. 

He also could take advantage of a race with a moderate early pace here. It’s not easy to tell what you are going to get from him, but he could be the biggest threat to the heavy favorite on Saturday.

White Abarrio

After running a sneaky good third in the Met Mile for his brand-new barn, it will be interesting to see what this gray son of Race Day can do with a little more time under the handling of trainer Rick Dutrow.

 A Grade 1 winner last year, I am not sure that 9-furlongs is his best distance, but as one of only three in the field with any early speed, he could be able to relax a bit in the first part of the race. 

He generally comes up a little short in the stretch against top competition, but it would be no surprise to see him run a strong race all the way around on Saturday.

Last Samurai 

On his day, this D. Wayne Lukas-trained son of Malibu Moon is capable of beating just about anyone. The problem is, he has only proven that dangerous when racing at his favorite track of Oaklawn Park. 

All his best performances have come there, and since narrowly missing out on a second consecutive Oaklawn Handicap scores, he has come back with a pair of fourth-place finishes in Kentucky. 

Still, a threat to run well enough to land himself in the exotics, I prefer others in here among those trying to upset Cody’s Wish.

Giant Game 

This 4-year-old son Not This Time was a very good juvenile back in 2021. Everything went wrong for him early last year on the Kentucky Derby trail, but he has been working himself back in form since returning in January for trainer Dale Romans. 

Showing strong early speed in the last two, he has strung together a pair of solid scores in an allowance race at Churchill Downs and the Grade 3 Cornhusker Handicap at Prairie Meadows. 

Things will obviously get tougher here, but in a race devoid of much speed, he could be ready to challenge early and stick around longer than most expect. He is an interesting longshot in the Whitney.



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How to Watch the Whitney Stakes

  • What: Whitney Stakes (Grade 1) 
  • Location: Saratoga
  • Time: Saturday, August 5 at 5:42 pm Eastern time
  • How to Watch: Fox Sports
  • Purse: $1,000,000
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Brian Zipse

288 Articles

Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.

Email: [email protected]

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