Monday 15th of April 2024

Cody Dorman, who witnessed his namesake horse win the Breeders' Cup, has passed away on his way home.

Cody Dorman, a teenager who watched his namesake Cody's Wish win at the Breeders' Cup, has died. He was 17. Dorman died on Sunday due to a "medical issue" on his way home to Kentucky after participating in the world championship in Santa Anita last week, according to a statement from his parents posted on Monday on the Godolphin Racing social media account. Dorman was born with a rare genetic condition called Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, which includes growth and developmental delays, intellectual disabilities, low muscle tone, and seizures. He used a wheelchair.

"Since Cody was diagnosed at birth, we always knew this day would come, but we were determined to help Cody live his best life while we had him," wrote the boy's parents, Kelly and Leslie Dorman.

Dorman first met the horse during a Make-A-Wish visit to the Godolphin farm in Gainesboro, Lexington, Kentucky, when Cody's Wish was a five-month-old weanling in 2018. The animal approached Dorman's wheelchair and rested its head on the boy, creating such a bond that Godolphin decided to name the horse in honor of Dorman.

"I think this horse probably saved Cody's life in a lot of ways," Kelly Dorman said on Saturday. "I know him, and the horse has made a lot of people's lives better."

Cody's Wish won his final race on Saturday in the Dirt Mile with a purse of $1 million, rallying from last and withstanding an inquiry to protect his title over Preakness winner National Treasure.

Cody Dorman waited in the winner's circle, as if he already knew how it would end.

The victory secured a storybook ending to "Cody's Wish," a collection of stories in his final race before retirement. He won 11 of 16 career starts, including eight stakes races, and earned Godolphin more than $3.1 million.

"This heartwarming story touched the hearts of many people within and beyond the Thoroughbred industry," Dan Pride, Godolphin's chief operating officer, said in a statement. "And while Cody's passing has saddened us, we find solace knowing that Cody found many joyful moments during this journey with his best friend, Cody's Wish. Our hearts are with the Dorman family."

Dorman and his family were in attendance at the annual dinner of the racing writers' group last week to receive the "Mr. Fitz" award from the National Association of Racing Writers and Broadcasters. The award goes to someone who embodies the spirit of racing.