While this year’s Breeders’ Cup had a number of exceptional races, none was as emotional as the triumph of Cody’s Wish in the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile because the 4 year old was not just racing for his owner: he carried the hopes and dreams of 16 year old Cody Dorman, who has such genetic disorder Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome and has suffered thousands of seizures and dozens of surgeries. Dorman has a special bond with his equine namesake, which started four years ago when the boy was sponsored by Godolphin for Keeneland’s Make-A-Wish day.
No one knew how a foal would react to Cody and his wheelchair. But on the farm tour, the weanling walked right up to the young boy and placed his head in his lap. A year later, the farm called the Dormans and told them they’d named the colt Cody’s Wish.
“It feels like a dream, I feel so honored for him to be named after me,” said Cody Dorman.
But it didn’t end there. Two years later, his family took him back to Godolphin to visit the horse who had meant so much to the boy. No one expected the 2-year old colt to remember the wheelchair bound Cody, but again, the colt came right up to the boy and put his head in his lap.
When the horse lost his first few races, Cody Dorman told his family he needed to be there to encourage the colt to win. And sure enough, Cody’s wish responded by winning his next six races.
Because he found me and he hasn’t forgotten me. He has always looked for me and we have the same heart and drive. We never give up.Cody Dorman
Even in the days before the Breeders’ Cup races, Cody’s Wish responded to his friend, seeking him out and putting his head in the boy’s lap. It’s a bond that’s lasted four years and shows no signs of diminishing.
At the Breeders’ Cup, Cody’s Wish broke slowly and left him farther off the pace than jockey Junior Alvarez anticipated. The jockey gave him time to settle and the tactful rider paid off. Although Cody’s Wish had never gone two turns before, he barreled down the home stretch and inched past Cyberknife.
“I’ve been hearing the stories about (Cody),” Alvarado said. “First time I got to meet him was at Churchill when I won with him, and I remember going into the Winner’s Circle and all he wanted to do was walk forward to where Cody was. We tried to get the winner’s circle photo and he was getting upset until Cody got into the photo. They have an unbelievable bond.”Jockey JUnior Alvarado
The Godolphin Stables have announced that Cody’s Wish will continue to compete in 2023 and hope he will continue to bring such joy to his namesake.