Cody's Wish hopes to win for Make-A-Wish namesake at Churchill Downs

October 2nd, 2021

Cody’s Wish might not be the most famous horse entered to race on this action-packed weekend of Breeders’ Cup qualifiers. But he certainly has one of the best backstories.

A Godolphin homebred conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, Cody’s Wish has ties to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. In 2018, a boy named Cody Dorman—born with Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome—visited Godolphin as part of Keeneland’s Make-A-Wish Day and formed a special connection with an unnamed Thoroughbred foal. In honor of their meeting that left a deep impact on Cody and his family, Godolphin named the bay colt Cody’s Wish.

Fast forward three years, and Cody’s Wish is entered in the 1ST race on Saturday at Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby. Cody and his family will be in attendance, setting the stage for a memorable afternoon under the Twin Spires.

Cody’s Wish has been a picture of consistency across his first three starts in New York, finishing third in a trio of maiden special weights at Belmont Park and Saratoga. Along the way, he’s shown signs of talent befitting his lineage, which is packed with racing royalty. Cody’s Wish’s sire is Curlin, a two-time Horse of the Year known for passing on talent and stamina to his progeny. His dam, Dance Card, was also a top-tier racehorse, winning the Gazelle S. (G1) and finishing third in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1).

While Dance Card achieved her biggest wins in front-running fashion, Curlin was a more conservative runner who settled off the pace before rallying when the time was right. In terms of running style, Cody’s Wish seems to be taking after Curlin, employing rallying tactics in his first three starts. But don’t be surprised if Cody’s Wish displays a bit more speed than usual on Saturday.

After all, Cody’s Wish is stretching out in distance from a seven-furlong sprint to a one-mile route, which can be a recipe for late runners to show improved speed. There isn’t much pace in Saturday’s field, with the former California campaigner Doctrinaire and the consistent Extreme looking like the only two entrants with front-running potential.

With a little racing luck courtesy of hot jockey Joel Rosario, perhaps we’ll see Cody’s Wish—not to mention Cody and his family—in the Churchill Downs winner’s circle.