Cody’s Wish ekes out a nose victory in Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile after bumping rival in the stretch


ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) — Cody’s Wish rallied from last and survived a stewards’ inquiry to defend his title in the $1 million Dirt Mile at the Breeders’ Cup on Saturday at Santa Anita.

Ridden by Junior Alvarado, Cody’s Wish ran the distance in 1:35.97. Sent off as the 4-5 favorite, the 5-year-old horse paid $3.60 to win.

Cody’s Wish dueled leader National Treasure down the stretch. Cody’s Wish twice bumped National Treasure and jockey Flavien Prat before the Preakness winner made contact with Cody’s Wish, triggering the inquiry.

“I could see some horses fading. I didn’t have the luxury to go around horses,” Alvarado said. “We cut the corner, and we saved some ground. When I tipped him out, he was there for me. When we got to the other horse, I just let him know my job is done right now. Just take me the last part. I knew he wasn’t going to let that other horse go by.”

The stewards watched video replays for seven minutes while the two horses were walked in circles on the track, waiting to see which one would get his picture taken in the winner’s circle.

It was Cody’s Wish by a nose.

Bob Baffert, who trains National Treasure, nodded his head at the finish, seemingly knowing that he had lost by the smallest margin in horse racing.

The victory ensured a storybook ending for Cody’s Wish in his final race before retirement. He won 11 of 16 career starts, including eight in stakes races, and over $3.1 million in earnings.

Waiting in the winner’s circle during the inquiry was Cody Dorman, a teenager who has a rare genetic disorder that confines him to a wheelchair. He and the horse first met during a Make-A-Wish visit to a Kentucky farm when Cody’s Wish was a foal in 2018. Cody’s Wish walked over to Dorman’s wheelchair and put his head in the boy’s lap, creating a touching bond.

“I think that horse probably saved Cody’s life in a lot of ways,” said Kelly Dorman, the boy’s father. “I know him and the horse have made a lot of lives better.”

The Dorman family was on hand last year when Cody’s Wish won the Dirt Mile at Keeneland, and they joined Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott in celebrating again.

Skippylongstocking was third in the seven-horse field. The race lost Practical Move after the colt collapsed earlier in the week and died of a suspected cardiac event. Algiers dropped out because of an issue with his right front foot.

The Dirt Mile kicked off nine Breeders’ Cup races on the second day of the 40th world championships.


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