Archives for November 6, 2023

Cody Wish’s Story Leaves a Mark with Breeders’ Cup Horsemen

In a statement online today, November 6, 2023, the family posted that Cody Dorman passed away on the trip back to Kentucky following his namesake’s dramatic victory in the BC Dirt Mile.

From BreedersCup.com prior to the win by  Cody’s Wish in the Dirt Mile:

Those who ply their trade on backstretches from Belmont Park to Churchill Downs to Santa Anita Park have all heard the story.

There doesn’t seem to be anyone in horse racing who doesn’t know about the tug-at-the-heart relationship between Godolphin’s Cody’s Wish and Cody Dorman.

“If there is a better story than this one, I don’t know it. Do you?” Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse said.

The 5-year-old horse, the 9-5 morning line favorite in the Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1), met up with his best pal, 17-year-old Cody Doman late Thursday afternoon.

“We are all pulling for him,” Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said about the two Codys. “I am running against him (with Preakness Stakes winner National Treasure), but I think this is just great.”

Cody Dorman, along with his dad Kelly, mom Leslie and 10-year-old sister Kylie made the trip from Kentucky to root for Cody’s Wish.

They had a personal, half-hour meet-and-greet with the horse and Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.

Cody Dorman, who is able to communicate via tablet, gobbles up all things Cody’s Wish. He can watch videos of the horse training or walking or racing for hours on end. His bedroom at home is filled with all things Cody.

It’s a love affair that has been going on since young Cody, who was born with Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome, a rare genetic disease, met Cody’s Wish when he was a foal in 2018.

“This story touches everyone,” said Nora McCormack, an exercise rider for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher. “If you don’t feel something when you see or hear about this story… I’ll be rooting for Cody, but I’ll also be rooting for us.”

Pletcher will be represented by Charge It in the Dirt Mile.

McCormack knows the special connection a horse can have with a human. She has been working for Pletcher for five years and has been the exercise rider for the champion filly, Nest.

“When Nest came in as a baby, I rode her every day,” she said. “She was so sweet on the track. We were best friends. We get very attached to these horses. You trust them and they trust you.”

The Cody Dorman-Cody’s Wish love story gained steam when the horse won the Dirt Mile last year. It has made the youngster a rock star as he and his four-legged friend’s friendship has been chronicled by media outlets throughout the land.

It has proven to many what those who work closely with these Thoroughbreds have always known.

“These horses can bring so much joy,” Baffert said. “Being around horses can distract you from things that are negative in your life. They are so noble and beautiful. To see the (Dorman) parents and the kids watching this horse … it brings so much joy to them. It’s a feel-good story and, right now, we need feel-good stories in racing.”

Casse always has been one who wants to share his horses with the public. He trained the great Tepin, a two-time Eclipse Award-winning mare who was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 2022.

People loved Tepin and Tepin loved people.

“A lot of horses are loving,” Casse said.

He can relate to the bond between Cody’s Wish and Cody Dorman. And, like everyone else, he wants to see a happy ending in the Dirt Mile, which is the 16th and final race of Cody’s Wish career.

“Oh, I’ll be rooting for him,” Casse said. “I want it all to go good.”