It was a moment that left the Dorman family speechless. Their son, Cody, did something they rarely see: show emotion. The trigger? Teenager Cody Dorman met a foal in 2018 and shower rare emotion; he laughed. “As far as actually hearing him laugh out loud, we’ve only seen those times maybe I can count on one hand, and he did it that day,” his father Kelly Dorman explained. “It was almost like something you see on a movie.” And Cody did it again a year later after battling depression during the height of the pandemic.

To explain further, Cody was born with Wolf Hirschhorn Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that affects many parts of his body. Cody has endured thousands of seizures and dozens of surgeries in his short lifetime, but seems nothing short of a miracle as he battles on. His doctors had actually told the family he would only live for two years.

“He has a real fight to him that you just gotta see it to believe it,” Dorman added. Cody met the foal as part of ‘Make A Wish’’s annual Keeneland Day. He was chosen to visit Godolphin stables, and the connection Cody and the foal made was so moving that the farm named him Cody’s Wish. “I was surprised, shocked, beyond honoured,” Dorman said. “I think it really means something, not just to the wish child, but also to the farm, and it gives them a memory that will last a lifetime,” Faith Hacker, ‘Make A Wish’ Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana’s senior advancement officer said.

Godolphin’s charity coordinator, Katie LaMonica, agrees and added: “Cody and Cody’s Wish have a strong connection and hopefully just journey together and they can continue to push each other and lift each other up.” Dorman continued: “The horse reminded me of Cody’s life on debut; he finished third, but he didn’t quit.”

And Cody said he’ll be there for Cody’s Wish, like he was for him, no matter what. “Cody’s Wish, don’t ever give up,” Cody said last summer, using his tablet that speaks for him. “I will be rooting for you no matter how you finish the race.” Having finished third in each of his first three racecourse performances, it was almost as though he was waiting for Dorman to be there before he finally won.

Ironically, after Cody’s Wish shipped to Kentucky last autumn, Dorman was on hand for his first three career wins at Churchill Downs. “This went from a wish and turned into a dream come true,” said Kelly Dorman, father of Cody. Since then, Cody’s Wish has placed second in a Grade Three Stakes and won the Grade 3 Westchester Handicap at Belmont by five lengths in May.

Sidelined briefly after that success by a mild temperature, the homebred 4yo Curlin colt, trained by Bill Mott, returned to action early last month to win the Listed JRA Hanshin Stakes back on the dirt at what appears his favourite track, Churchill Downs. The Dorman family say ‘Make A Wish’ changed their lives, and Cody continues to fundraise for the organisation every chance he gets.