HORSE racing has been plunged into mourning after the devastating death of Cody Dorman.
The 17-year-old, who suffers from a rare genetic disorder, passed away a day after watching the horse named after him win his final race.
In a heartbreaking statement, Cody's parents confirmed their beloved son tragically died on the way back from the Breeders' Cup in California.
Kelly and Leslie Dorman wrote: "We are heartbroken to share the news that our beloved Cody suffered a medical event on our trip home to Kentucky and he has passed away.
"On Saturday, Cody watched his best friend, Cody's Wish, display his usual perseverance and toughness in winning a second Breeders' Cup.
"Those are the same characteristics Cody has showed time and again for the 18 years we were blessed to have him.
"We have been completely amazed to experience the impact Cody has had on so many people, through the journey that this wondrous racehorse has taken us all on.
"From Churchill Downs to Keeneland, to Saratoga to Santa Anita this weekend, we could not move 20ft without someone stopping to tell us just that.
"With Cody's diagnosis at birth, we always knew this day would com, but we were determined to help Cody live his best life for however long we had him.
"Anyone who has seen him at the racetrack, especially around Cody's Wish, understands that in many ways he taught us all how to live, always keeping a positive attitude and being more concerned about those around him than himself."
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The amazing bond that Cody and the five-year-old wonderhorse named in his honour is the stuff of Hollywood fairytales.
Cody was born with Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, a genetic disorder that robs a person of their ability to walk or speak.
Brave Cody communicated with those around him by using a tablet.
Five years ago, his life changed while on a Make-A-Wish trip to Godolphin’s Gainsborough Farm in Kentucky.
There, while being shown the horses, he met an unnamed foal with whom he immediately built a connection.
As soon as Cody and the foal met they formed a bond that left everyone there awestruck.
Danny Mulvihill, farm manager at Gainsborough, relived the encounter to the LA Times.
He said: "The foal just came out and took a look at the wheelchair and Cody, and took a second look and inched closer and never gave us a cause for concern.
"And he just kept inching closer until his nose was right there.
"He was nuzzling Cody’s hand and then his head went into Cody’s lap.
"Every part of this story has come together and fallen into place from the word go and could have gone several different directions at any one time.
"But for everything to keep lining up and ending up where it has now, you cannot script that.
"You cannot write this kind of stuff."
Cody's Wish won 11 of his 16 races and earned more $3million in prize money.
Before every race viewers were reminded of their heartwarming bond.
There were tears at Santa Anita last Saturday, with Cody's dad breaking down on live TV.
Pointing to the sky as he tried to find the words to sum up how he was feeling, he said: "It's come from up there. All of it."
A statement from the Breeders' Cup read: "The entire Breeders’ Cup team is devastated by the news of Cody Dorman’s passing yesterday.
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"His story captured our hearts and minds, and his strength, spirit, and determination were fittingly embodied by his namesake’s commanding performances in his honor.
"We send our sincere condolences to the Dormans, who gave our sport so much by welcoming us into their family."
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