Cody Dorman dead: Inspiration for Breeders’ Cup winner Cody’s Wish, dies aged 17 after Santa Anita race

Cody Dorman, who inspired the naming of two-time Breeders’ Cup winner Cody’s Wish, has died at the age of 17. 
Cody Dorman, who inspired the naming of two-time Breeders’ Cup winner Cody’s Wish, has died at the age of 17.
Cody Dorman, who inspired the naming of two-time Breeders’ Cup winner Cody’s Wish, has died at the age of 17. | Getty Images
Cody Dorman, who inspired the naming of two-time Breeders’ Cup winner Cody’s Wish, has died at the age of 17. 

Cody Dorman, who was closely associated with the naming of two-time Breeders’ Cup winner Cody’s Wish, has died aged 17. The teenager, who was born with Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome, died on Saturday (November 4) after visiting Santa Anita to watch the horse he inspired defend his Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile crown.

Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome is a rare genetic condition which made him unable to speak and wheelchair-bound. Dorman had been a key part of the Cody's Wish journey since Bill Mott’s five-year-old was a foal. The pair first met when the Dorman family paid a visit to Gainsborough Farm Stud, and the then-foal, Cody's Wish, approached Dorman and laid his head in his lap.

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That was the start of an unbreakable friendship that would span the duration of the Godolphin-owned colt's racing career, with Dorman by his side for both of his great Breeders' Cup victories. Dorman sadly died while travelling home from California to his family home in Kentucky after having witnessed Cody’s Wish bow out in style when bravely defending his Dirt Mile title at Santa Anita.

A statement released to Godolphin by parents Kelly and Leslie Dorman, read: “We are heartbroken to share the news that our beloved Cody suffered a medical event on our trip home to Kentucky and he has passed away. 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 shown 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 20ft 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.

Cody Dorman, who inspired the naming of two-time Breeders’ Cup winner Cody’s Wish, has died at the age of 17. 
Cody Dorman, who inspired the naming of two-time Breeders’ Cup winner Cody’s Wish, has died at the age of 17.
Cody Dorman, who inspired the naming of two-time Breeders’ Cup winner Cody’s Wish, has died at the age of 17. | Getty Images

“As people of faith, we are comforted in the knowledge that Cody has gone home. We pray that he watches over us all, especially Kylie, the best little sister in the world. We are sincerely grateful for all those who have shared this journey with Cody and our family. The joy that his interactions with Cody’s Wish have brought him the last five years is indescribable. We will rely on those memories to help us through an unimaginably difficult time.”

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The Breeders’ Cup organisation also paid a tribute to the inspiring teenager: “The entire Breeders’ Cup team is devastated by the news of Cody Dorman’s passing yesterday. His story captured our hearts and minds, and his strength, spirit, and determination were fittingly embodied by his namesake’s commanding performances in his honour. We send our sincere condolences to the Dormans, who gave our sport so much by welcoming us into their family.”

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