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Cody Dorman, Family Have Memorable Visit to Saratoga

The result was not what Cody Dorman and his family wanted, but even before the outcome of the Aug. 5 Whitney Stakes (G1) was known, he and his family will return home from their visit to Saratoga Race Course feeling more love than ever before. 

If there was any doubt about how the bond between the 17-year-old born with Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome and the 5-year-old son of Curlin   has captivated the racing community, look no further than the response Dorman received at the track’s 1863 Club Saturday. 

Upon their exit en route to the paddock prior to the Whitney, all of the diners rose to their feet chanting Cody’s name.

“It’s just it’s been incredible,” said Dorman’s father, Kelly. “You know how people come up and talk to you and just let you know what it’s meant to you; most of them are teared up, some of them are crying pretty heavy and just supporting Cody.”

Then, after leaving the paddock, the family arrived at the winners’ circle in advance of the Whitney. Still, fans called out their support. 

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The third-place finish for the favorite did not change a thing. Returning to the 1863 Club, Cody was welcomed with more support.

“That’s still a good race,” Kelly Dorman said. “But, you know, (Cody’s Wish has) been a winner before he ever was racehorse (for) what he’d done for Cody.”

Outcome be damned, the Dormans said their time in Saratoga has left a positive impression. Other than when Cody visited Godolphin through the Make-a-Wish Foundation in 2018—when the moment that sparked the relationship between the boy and the then-weanling—the family hadn’t been on a vacation.

Driving from Kentucky, the family stopped at Niagara Falls and plan to make a stop in Erie, Pa., on the return home.

Cody Dorman
Photo: Courtesy of the Dorman Family

(L-R): Kylie, Cody and Leslie Dorman on vacation

Even Cody’s younger sister Kylie had a moment she will not soon forget. Trainer Bill Mott put her on Bugsy, his pony who is a big part of Mott’s operations. 

“That smile she had from that, that made the trip worthwhile right there,” said her father. 

Kylie and Bugsy
Photo: Courtesy of the Dorman Family

Kylie Dorman aboard Bugsy

What lies ahead for both Cody and the horse named after him remains to be seen. Their paths are forever intertwined. The momentum that has been generated by the best friends does not show any signs of slowing down. Even the first time since March 2022 that Cody’s Wish failed to win—a six-race streak—changes nothing for them. Still, he has finished on the board in all 14 career races. 

Any disappointment is short-lived. 

Should the horse race in the Nov. 4 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1), which he won last year, the family plans to celebrate Cody’s 18th birthday a month early with a trip to Santa Anita Park

Greater than anything on the track, which sometimes overshadows the big picture, is Cody. 

Kelly Dorman said the horse has taught him so much about the sport that has wrapped its arms around his son. It is equally fair to say that his son has taught so many about compassion, grit, and determination against long odds. 

“Cody and that horse have a story that’s embedded forever,” Dorman said. “I’m so proud of (Cody). He paid a heavy price, more than even I can explain. He’s been through 20 lifetimes of negativity and adversity. He’s never quit, never gave up. Cody’s Wish runs the same way.”

And in this sport, legacy is the name of the game. 

“You know, 10 years from now, three years from now, you are going to see some little Cody’s (Wishes) running around here,” Dorman said. “Maybe one of them will have a story.” 

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