'Just Like A Hollywood Story': Cody's Wish Fulfilled In Emotional Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

‘Just Like A Hollywood Story’: Cody’s Wish Fulfilled In Emotional Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile

Cody Dorman adorned with the winner’s garland after Cody’s Wish captured the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile

Emotions ran high in the Keeneland winner's circle on Saturday after the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. Cody's Wish, who dominated media stories leading up to the 2022 World Championships due to his special relationship with 16-year-old Cody Dormer, dug deep in late stretch to deliver the victory, defeating Cyberknife by a head.

Four years ago, Dorman and Cody's Wish met when the colt was a foal. Dorman, who suffers from the rare genetic disorder Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome and has suffered thousands of seizures and dozens of surgeries, was sponsored by Godolphin for Keeneland's Make-A-Wish day, and on a farm tour later that day the foal walked right up to the young boy and placed his head in his lap.

That scene played out again this week at Keeneland, just days ahead of Cody's Wish making his start in the Dirt Mile. Handled by trainer Bill Mott, the 4-year-old race-fit colt walked right up to Dorman in his wheelchair and lowered his head.

“It's been this unbelievable story from the get-go when Cody Dorman first met Cody's Wish as just a foal in the barn,” said Godolphin's Michael Banahan. “And they developed this bond. And he saw him a year and a half later as or two years later as a 2-year-old, and we were worried about being a rambunctious, strong 2-year-old dealing with him at that stage. And the horse put his head down in his lap. We were all surprised about that.

“It just seemed like they had this connection. And the Dormans came out last Wednesday, and Bill had the horse out with Cody Dorman as well. He got down, nosed at him as well. Seems like he knows who Cody Dorman is and to have this little relationship with each other — and he's just been a special horse for the family, for us, and it's just like a Hollywood story. It's hard to script.”

“That was very special,” said Mott. “There's a big story behind it. Goes to show that the Make A Wish Foundation can make it very special for someone. The performance was awesome. He made a huge run turning for home.”

Cody's Wish delivered a performance on the track echoing the fight that lives in his namesake; doctors told Dorman's family he would only live for two years, but Cody celebrated his 16th birthday in 2022.

After breaking slowly under jockey Junior Alvarado, Cody's Wish worked his way up through the field to make a three-wide bid nearing the head of the short stretch. Down the lane, Cyberknife held a short lead over Cody's Wish as both colts fought for the wire. Alvarado and Cody's Wish laid it all on the line and hit the wire a head in front of Cyberknife, completing a mile over the fast main track in 1:35.33.

It was the first Breeders' Cup win for Alvarado, and 11th (from 116 starters) for Mott. Owner/breeder Godolphin celebrated a 12th (?) victory in the World Championships as an owner.

“I had a trip that, to be honest, I wasn't expecting,” Alvarado said. “He didn't break great, so I just took my time with him. I didn't want to rush him. He's a horse that can get a little rank. I took it little by little. By the 3/8th pole I was getting excited, but I knew there was a lot of race left to run. He finished up really well for me. When we turned for home, I knew I had the horse.”

Alvarado, too, was touched by the bond between Cody Dorman and the horse.

“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.”

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Pipeline led the field of nine through early fractions of :22.28 and :45.71 with Gunite in closest pursuit and Cyberknife just off the leaders while racing on the outside.

On the far turn, Pipeline began to drop back putting Gunite in charge only to have Cyberknife appear right at his flank with favored Cody's Wish circling three wide. Cody's Wish took the lead at the head of the lane only to have Cyberknife fight back on even terms to deep stretch when Cody's Wish edged away.

Slow Down Andy finished third, 1 ¾ lengths behind Cyberknife, with Gunite another 2 ¼ lengths back in fourth. The remaining order of finish was as follows: Law Professor, Three Technique, Simplification, Senor Buscador, and Pipeline.

After the race, stewards posted the inquiry sign and the rider of Slow Down Andy filed an objection against Cyberknife for interference. After review, no change was made to the order of finish.

Bred in Kentucky by his owner Godolphin, Cody's Wish is out of the Grade 1-winning Tapit mare Dance Card. He didn't begin his career until his 3-year-old season, and took four starts to break his maiden, but the colt has never finished worse than third and came into the Breeders' Cup on a three-race win streak. Overall, Cody's Wish has compiled a record of seven wins from 11 starts for earnings of $1,332,130.

“The thing about it is he did get a late start in life,” Mott said. “And he's only had really one season of hard racing. He's not over-raced. And he would be a horse that probably, you know, we can all see, he's just coming into his own these last two. He's risen into the stakes company and to the Grade I level, and he'd be a horse that, for me as a trainer, would be an interesting horse to take to a race like the Met Mile next year.”

Cody's Wish defeats Cyberknife in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile


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