‘I’m at a loss for words.’ Cody’s Wish adds another chapter to inspiring story on Derby Day.

Cody Dorman watched Cody’s Wish — the horse named in honor of him and his incredible story — power through to a strong victory in the Churchill Downs Stakes, the 10th race at Churchill Downs on Saturday on Kentucky Derby Day.

The young man, now 17 years old and having overcome two strokes and more than 50 surgeries, was never expected to live as long as he has.

For those unfamiliar with the Dorman family, their son Cody asked to meet a race horse at Keeneland years ago as part of their Make-A-Wish Day. Cody was born with genetic disorder Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome.

Gainsborough Farm in Versailles invited Cody and his family to spend time around the horses. Of the many horses at the farm, one — then just a foal — made his way over to Cody.

Cody’s Wish, with Junior Alvarado aboard, cruises to a win in the Churchill Downs Stakes on Kentucky Derby Day.
Cody’s Wish, with Junior Alvarado aboard, cruises to a win in the Churchill Downs Stakes on Kentucky Derby Day.

Cody’s disorder is chromosomal, and it has left him unable to walk or communicate verbally.

One visit from Cody became two, and, in every single visit thereafter, they continued to build their unique bond.

The family stood by proudly in November as Cody’s Wish captured the Breeder’s Cup Dirt Mile at Keeneland in November with a head-long victory over Cyberknife. Cody’s father, Kelly, told representatives from the Breeder’s Cup that the connection between his son and the horse is palpable.

“Them two just have some type of language they use to communicate with each other,” Kelly Dorman said. “You can’t hear it, but you can see it and you can certainly feel it. It’s pretty amazing.”

Cody’s Wish entered the Churchill Downs Stakes, his 2023 debut, as the landslide favorite. And he did not disappoint.

The 5-year-old horse and jockey Junior Alvarado charged their way on the outside as the pack entered the final furlong, really kicking things into gear to win with a final time of 1:21.17. Hoist the Gold finished second while Tejano Twist was third.

Cody’s Wish is trained by Bill Mott.

“I’m at a loss for words right now,” Kelly Dorman said. “We’ve seen him go through so much, and to see him go through much, and to be here on this stage and stuff, and the adversity he’s overcome, you know, we couldn’t have got here without Make-A-Wish. You know, they brought all this to us, and stuff like that. And we’ve prayed over him since the day he was born to ask God to hold him in the palm of his hand. And he’s got room to hold that horse, too.”

Cody Dorman and his family met with Cody’s Wish at an earlier race day at Churchill Downs. The 5-year-old son of Curlin won Saturday’s $750,000, Grade 1 Churchill Downs Stakes, his first race since winning the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Keeneland last fall.
Cody Dorman and his family met with Cody’s Wish at an earlier race day at Churchill Downs. The 5-year-old son of Curlin won Saturday’s $750,000, Grade 1 Churchill Downs Stakes, his first race since winning the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Keeneland last fall.

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