There aren’t too many races that make me cry with joy, but watching Cody’s Wish win his second Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile brought tears to my eyes. Defending champion, Cody’s Wish, named in honor of Cody Dorman, challenged Preakness Winner National Treasure in a nail-biting race down the stretch, that saw Cody’s Wish win by a nose.
In one of the most endearing stories in the racing world, Cody’s Wish and Cody Dorman met as the result of a Make-A-Wish visit to a Kentucky Farm when Cody’s Wish was a foal in 2018. Cody Dorman, who suffers from a rare genetic disorder, Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome, is confined to a wheelchair, but the foal came right to the boy and put his head in his lap. The connection has endured, with the colt continuing to recognize and approach the boy.
“I think that horse probably saved Cody’s life in a lot of ways,” said Kelly Dorman, the boy’s father. “I know him and the horse have made a lot of lives better.”
True to his preferred running style, Cody’s wish ran in last place until heading into the final turn. Jockey Junior Alvarez wove between horses, finally finding a space between National Treasure and Skippylongstocking. National Treasure gamely held off the challenge as Cody’s Wish drew even inside the final furlong. The two colts made contact — which prompted a Stewards’ inquiry — but the finish held.
Cody’s Wish is only the second back-to-back winner of the Dirt Mile, following Goldencents in 2013-2014.
The Dirt Mile marked the eighth win in the last nine starts for Cody’s Wish. In addition to his 11 visits to the winner’s circle, he has never finished worse than third.
The race was Cody’s Wish’s swan song. He will be retired to stand at stud at Godolphin’s Jonabell Farm near Lexington.
After the race, trainer Bill Mott showed a reporter his wrist band which reads, “Cody’s Wish. Sometimes wishes do come true.” You couldn’t ask for a better ending.