.Cody’s Wish and his son Cody, the horse’s namesake, have a touching bond that Kelly Dorman has always believed is the result of a higher power. That view is shared by many others.
When choosing which foal would interact with Cody during his visit to Godolphin’s Gainsborough Farm in Versailles, Kentucky, as a part of Keeneland’s Make-A-Wish Day, farm manager Danny Mulvihill made a fortunate decision.
Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, a rare hereditary condition that affects many body parts, was present at birth in Cody. He uses a tablet to communicate because he is unable to walk or speak. Mulvihill was aware that it was crucial to get a foal that wouldn’t be afraid of Cody’s wheelchair. He decided on the unnamed son of twice-named Horse of the Year Curlin.
The foal approached Cody in his wheelchair after giving them a quick glance. He took a few sniffs before placing his head in the ecstatic teen’s lap. In a life full with difficulties, from regular seizures to several surgeries, it was one of the best times.
Godolphin’s office manager, Mary Bourne, was so moved by the strength of that sudden bond that she requested permission from higher ups to break the regulations. Godolphin does not give its animals human names. However, she was given approval to give the foal the name Cody’s Wish.
From there, one of racing’s touching tales was born.
At age 2, Bill Mott, a Hall of Fame trainer known for his patience, did not race Cody’s Wish. Cody, who resides in Richmond, Kentucky, was right when he said the horse wouldn’t break his maiden until he could see the race. On Oct. 2, 2021, Cody’s Wish triumphed as he watched from the winner’s circle after starting his career with three consecutive third-place results.
That victory marked the beginning of a streak that saw seven victories in eight contests. It concluded in back-to-back victories in Grade 1 races, the Forego on August 27 at Saratoga this summer and the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Keeneland.
Cody’s Wish launched a protracted and dramatic rally for jockey Junior Alvarado in the Dirt Mile while the Dorman family was seated trackside, defeating hard-hitting Cyberknife by a decisive head.
Cody, now 16 years old, sobbed happily. So did everyone around him as the audience cheered in admiration of the fairytale conclusion. Kelly still has trouble expressing the feelings that Cody, his wife Leslie, their daughter Kylie, and he felt at that tender moment.
“It was like getting struck by lightning,” he finally remarked. Our breath was almost just taken away.
Casual spectators and racing enthusiasts had the same emotions. The Vox Populi Award was given to Cody’s Wish for creating a season that connected with viewers the most. This was a no-brainer for the prize Penny Chenery, the proprietor of Secretariat, established.
In the Dirt Mile, Cody’s Wish made an incredible last-to-first rally.
As Cody has lived his life, the horse racing according to Kelly. He “kind of gets into a gherkin and works himself out of it.”
Cody has had between 40 and 50 surgeries, including two open-heart procedures, according to his father’s estimate. After the physicians had given up hope, the youngster had lived on multiple occasions.
For Cody, Cody’s Wish has had a significant impact. Cody is doing better psychologically and physically, according to Kelly. He is progressing more in both his academic work and his therapy.
The engaging story has also gratefully increased awareness of the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s initiatives.
Faith Hacker, senior advancement officer for the Foundation in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. Stated that it has improved both Make-A-Wish Day at Keeneland and the Foundation’s relationship with the equestrian community. It’s the most touching and significant wish we’ve made in a while.
When Godolphin opted to run Cody’s Wish as a 5-year-old, a winner of more than $1.3 million, the story took still another amazing turn. According to Godolphin USA’s director of bloodstock, Michael Banahan, “We think there is still lot to prove for him.”
The Met Mile (G1) and a return to the Breeders’ Cup, according to Banahan, will be the horse’s main targets as it has already achieved everything Cody could have hoped for. plus more.