02/26/2010 1:00AM

Codoy opens his season in Battaglia


He was a good second in a Grade 3 turf stakes last fall at Keeneland, then was 18-1 when ridden by Garrett Gomez in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf. And he's a 2010 Triple Crown nominee.

It all sounds pretty good when you're talking about a 3-year-old named Codoy - but now it's time for action, not talk. That time comes Saturday, when Codoy makes his seasonal debut as one of eight in the $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky.

"He's going to have to do really well in his next couple of starts for us to even think about the Derby," said Mark Hubley, who trains Codoy for the Bred to Win LLC of Larry and Jimmy Doyle and Frank and Kitty Costa.

The Battaglia is a 1 1/16-mile Polytrack race that serves as the local prep for the $500,000 Lane's End Stakes, which is set for March 27. Codoy has raced just once on Polytrack, having won a Sept. 20 maiden race at Turfway, while making his five other starts on turf, including his runner-up finish in the Grade 3 Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland in October and a 12th-place finish in the BC Juvenile Turf.

"He probably had one too many races last year and just didn't fire in the Breeders' Cup," said Hubley, a 57-year-old New York City native based at the Thoroughbred Training Center in Lexington. "We laid him up a little while afterward, then brought him back around the first of the year."

Codoy will be ridden by Sal Gonzalez Jr. from post 3 in the Battaglia.

Codoy could vie for favoritism with Kera's Kitten. Kera's Kitten (post 8, Tommy Pompell) rebounded from a horrible start and dismal effort in the Jan. 2 Turfway Prevue to dominate the Jan. 30 WEBN Stakes at Turfway in wire-to-wire fashion for trainer Mike Maker.

Other logical Battaglia contenders include Lucky Chuck, third as the favorite in the WEBN, and Vow to Wager, a recent maiden winner for trainer Dale Romans.

The Battaglia is named for the late general manager of Turfway, which was still named Latonia when John Battaglia died in 1981. The race is the 11th of 12 on a Saturday card that starts at 1:10 p.m. Eastern.