SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — It’s one of the most highly anticipated days on the Saratoga Race Course calendar: Whitney Day. Saturday marked the 96th running of the Grade One Whitney Stakes, and the race for four-year-olds and upward offered a mix of storylines.

Beginning with the favorite of the six-horse field: Cody’s Wish, the six-horse, which closed at 2-5 odds. Cody’s Wish is the namesake of 17-year-old Cody Dorman, who was born with Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, and is unable to walk or speak.

Dorman and his family made the trip from Richmond, Kentucky to Saratoga to witness first-hand Cody’s Wish put his grade one race win streak of four to the test.

But Cody’s Wish got out to an awkward start and the field took advantage, namely White Abarrio, the five, which was jockeyed by Irad Ortiz, Jr.

White Abarrio pushed ahead of the three, Giant Game, at the top of the homestretch, and never looked back. He opened up a nearly six-length lead by the finish, pulling off a 10-1 upset for trainer Richard Dutrow, Jr., who was celebrating his 64th birthday Saturday.

“We had confidence that he was going to run big,” said Dutrow, Jr. “We didn’t have confidence that he was gonna beat anybody. We just had confidence he was gonna run big, and that’s what we were interested in. He overwhelmed us today; he overwhelmed the crowd. He just ran probably the race of his life. So, we weren’t expecting to see that, but we were certainly hoping for it. We got lucky; it’s just a great day for us today.”

The one, Zandon, finished in the place position and Cody’s Wish managed to work into the show position.

The Whitney was proceeded by race nine on the card: the $600,000 Grade One Saratoga Derby Invitational Stakes – one of five stakes races featured Saturday.

Trainer Todd Pletcher’s five-horse, Far Bridge, sat atop a crowded odds board. Far Bridge closed at 2-1, but was followed closely by the two and six-horses, Program Trading and Webslinger, both of which were going off at 7-2.

As the field turned for home, those three led the eight-horse field. By the 1/8th pole, Program Trading and Webslinger emerged from the pack. The two went back-and-forth trading leads – no pun intended – down the final sixteenth of a mile. But jockey Flavien Prat mustered a late push out of Program Trading on the inside. It made for a photo finish, and Program Training emerged victorious for Mechanicville native trainer Chad Brown.

“We talked about it – me and Flavien – if the one was gonna leave out of there or not; he was the other speed horse,” said Brown. “We were just a little faster on paper. We just decided to break, stay off the rail and just see if we can nurse him along. You know, he was passed in the early stretch. For an inexperienced horse, to come back on the inside, he showed a ton of heart. And I think it might even have been a little softer down on the inside where he was. He really overcame a lot in that stretch to show his heart and ability.”

The Saratoga Derby marked just the third start of Program Trading’s young career, and his first stakes race entry.

Webslinger placed; Far Bridge followed in the show position.

The Grade Three Troy Stakes kicked off the stretch of stakes races back in race six. The four, Caravel, trained by Brad Cox, entered as a runaway favorite at 1-2 odds.

Caravel emerged out of the gates in front, but was surpassed on the backstretch by the seven, Nobals. Nobals maintained the lead from the first quarter mile to the final sixteenth. But over that final stretch, the three, Cogburn, under jockey Ricardo Santana, came roaring from off the pace to overtake Nobals and seal a win for trainer Steve Asmussen.

“The concern was he had run twice on the turf, but it was very firm, and then all the rain we got (Friday)…I wasn’t sure how he’d like it,” said Asmussen. “Obviously it suits him well. (I) feel great about the field that he beat. (Now) we can think big.”

Nobals finished in second, followed by the one, Thin White Duke.

That gave way to the Fasig-Tipton Lure Stakes in race seven. A three-horse battle broke out down the final sixteenth of a mile. The two, Smokin’ T, was flanked on the inside by the one, Portfolio Company, and on the outside by the three, Dakota Gold.

Jockey John Velazquez summoned a final push from Smokin’ T to claim the Fasig-Tipton Lure Stakes for trainer Claude McGaughey III. Dakota Gold took second; Portfolio Company third.

One of the five stakes races ended in tragedy. The eight-horse in the Grade One Test Stakes from race eight, Maple Leaf Mel, was strides away from the finish line – on the verge of winning the race – when the previously undefeated filly collapsed to the track. The New York Racing Association released a statement later that evening saying Maple Leaf Mel had a “catastrophic injury to her right front leg,” and that she was “humanely euthanized due to the severity of the injury.”

NYRA’s full statement regarding the incident can be found here.