Thoroughbred racing will miss him. Cody’s Wish made all the difference for his namesake, Cody Dorman, and the extraordinary five-year-old delivered a thrilling repeat win in the $890,000 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) at Santa Anita, prevailing by a nose after battling with National Treasure through the stretch.
Now an eight-time stakes winner, including five Grade 1 triumphs from a 16-11-1-4 career record, Cody’s Wish proved to be arguably the top North American dirt miler of the modern era. His stellar career, including a smashing win in the Met Mile (G1) this season, should place him prominently in the Hall of Fame discussion.
Regular rider Junior Alvarado was up for Bill Mott on the Godolphin homebred son of Curlin, and Cody’s Wish had to survive a stewards’ inquiry after bumping with National Treasure in deep stretch. The bay horse left the starting gate as the 4-5 favorite among seven rivals, rating in next-to-last until launching his move on the far turn.
National Treasure hustled from the starting gate to show the way on a short lead through opening splits in :22.51 and :46.02. The pacesetter extended his advantage on the far turn, but Cody’s Wish was advancing into the frame and drew alongside his foe after straightening for home. National Treasure proved resilient, battling back to make it close on the wire.
Cody’s Wish finished up in 1:35.97, and he’s now squarely in the Horse of the Year picture. The classy performer made his stakes debut in the spring of 2022, finishing a neck second in the Challenger (G3), and Cody’s Wish strung together three stakes victories to complete his four-year-old campaign, including a convincing score in the Forego (G1) and head win over Cyberknife in the Dirt Mile at Keeneland.
After opening this year with a 4 3/4-length romp in the Churchill Downs (G1) on Kentucky Derby Day, Cody’s Wish captured the Met Mile, but his six-race win streak came to an end with a disappointing third in the Whitney (G1). He bounced back in the Vosburgh (G1) at Aqueduct on Oct. 1 and went out with a blaze of glory in his Dirt Mile title defense.
Cody’s Wish took part in Make-A-Wish Day at Keeneland in 2018 while still unnamed, and he formed a bond with Cody Dorman, who has Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome. Dorman and his family have attended all of Cody’s Wish stakes wins, and the bond remains strong between the two.
National Treasure, who was off at 9-2, wound up nearly fourth lengths better than Skippylongstocking. Charge It came next in fourth, and Zozos, Stage Raider, and Shirl’s Bee followed.
Cody’s Wish, an earner of $3,476,030, will enter stud at Darley’s Jonabell in 2024. He hails from the Grade 1-winning Tapit mare Dance Card, who is also the dam of Grade 2 winner Endorsed.