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For Cody and his Thoroughbred

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,

Than are dreamt of in your philosophy

Hamlet, 1.5. 165–66

I began this piece yesterday full of the joys and glory of the Breeders’ Cup fairytale win for Cody’s Wish and for his number one fan Cody Dorman, who inspired the great Thoroughbred’s name.

Today, it was all I could do to delete yesterday’s joy and start again... But I don’t think deleting was the answer because in the purest sense, at the heart of that five-year friendship between a horse and a boy, there is only joy.

In a trip to Godolphin's Gainsborough Farm in 2018, thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Keeneland, that little Curlin weanling that was to become so mighty, laid his head on Cody’s lap and began a story so full of life, we must celebrate their meeting, rather than mourn their parting.

Dorman, who was born with Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome, was at Santa Anita on Saturday to watch Cody's Wish retain his Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile crown. What keeps coming to my mind is that Cody was a smart kid, he already let the world know his friend helped him: “He [Cody’s Wish] saved my life,” so maybe Cody chose his time, I’d like to believe that he was just so content after his friend was victorious. Of course, I’m not qualified other than from my heart to say that, or perhaps hope that.

As for Cody’s Wish, we won’t ever know if he will wonder about his friend, that friend so full of faith and love in him. Cody’s Wish probably saw beyond the illness to the smart, funny, brave, determined young man. Who wouldn’t run faster for a boy like that?

On behalf of the Racing To Relate team, I am sending heartfelt condolences to his family and also love to Cody’s extended family of racing and horse fans all over the world who have followed their inspirational story of a boy, a Thoroughbred and something far deeper than words or running.

Here is the message sent from Cody’s parents Leslie and Kelly,

"We are heartbroken to share the news that our beloved Cody suffered a medical event on our trip home to Kentucky yesterday and he has passed away," read a statement from the family. "On Saturday, Cody watched his best friend, Cody's Wish, display his usual perseverance and toughness in winning a second Breeders' Cup. Those are the same characteristics Cody has showed time and again for the 18 years we were blessed to have him. We have been completely amazed to experience the impact Cody has had on so many people, through the journey that this wondrous racehorse has taken us all on. From Churchill Downs, to Keeneland, to Saratoga to Santa Anita this weekend, we could not move 20 feet without someone stopping to tell us just that."

"With Cody's diagnosis at birth, we always knew this day would come, but we were determined to help Cody live his best life for however long we had him. Anyone who has seen him at the racetrack, especially around Cody's Wish, understands that in many ways he taught us all how to live, always keeping a positive attitude and being more concerned about those around him than himself."

In lieu of lowers the family has asked for donations to go to Make-A-Wish Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

Images courtesy of


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