Cody’s Wish Wins 2023 Moment of the Year

January 24, 2024

Cody’s Wish, NTRA Moment of the Year. (NTRA Image)

NTRA Press Release

LEXINGTON, Ky.—The National Thoroughbred Racing Association, National Turf Writers and Broadcasters (NTWAB), and Daily Racing Form announced today that for the second year in a row, the heartwarming story of Cody’s Wish has been voted the 2023 FanDuel Racing-NTRA Moment of the Year based on the results of nearly 4,000 votes cast via Twitter and an online poll. 

Cody’s Wish thrilled the Breeders’ Cup crowd and his namesake, Cody Dorman, yet again by winning the Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile for the second consecutive year. The 5-year-old son of Curlin edged Preakness winner National Treasure for owner/breeder Godolphin. With namesake Cody Dorman and family in attendance, Cody’s Wish gave a winning performance that continues to warm the hearts of all who watched in amazement.

Cody's Wish with Junior Alvarado up battled National Treasure to the wire for the win in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)
Cody’s Wish with Junior Alvarado up battled National Treasure to the wire for the win in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

The FanDuel Racing-NTRA Moment of the Year will be recognized during the 53rd Annual Eclipse Awards Presented by FanDuel, John Deere, Keeneland, and The Jockey Club at The Breakers Palm Beach in Florida on January 25, 2024. In addition to FanDuel TV and RTN, the ceremony will be streamed live on multiple outlets including: NTRA.comamericasbestracing.netbloodhorse.com, DRF.comequibase.comThoroughbreddailynews.com, and NTRA’s YouTube channel. 

The 13 eligible 2023 moments were selected to illustrate the wide range of equine achievements and human emotions, as well as exceptional displays of athleticism. Voting concluded at midnight on January 17. 

The first-ever “NTRA Moment of the Year” was the touching scene between Charismatic and jockey Chris Antley following the 1999 Belmont Stakes. The next year’s winner was the stretch run of the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Classic, which saw Tiznow hold on for a dramatic victory against Giant’s Causeway. Tiznow won again the following year as fans selected his stirring repeat victory in the Classic over Sakhee. In 2002, fans cited the passing of the last living Triple Crown winner, Seattle Slew. In 2003, the popular Kentucky Derby win by Funny Cide was selected. Birdstone’s upset win in the Belmont Stakes over Smarty Jones took down top honors for 2004. In 2005, fans selected Afleet Alex’s spectacular victory in the 2005 Preakness Stakes.

Voters in 2006 chose Barbaro’s gallant struggle to recover from his Preakness injury while at the New Bolton Center. The 2007 Moment of the Year was a historic victory by the filly Rags to Riches over Curlin in the Belmont Stakes. In 2008, it was Zenyatta’s win in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic. Zenyatta “repeated” in 2009 as fans selected her triumph in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

In 2010, fans selected Blame’s narrow Breeders’ Cup Classic victory over Zenyatta. Drosselmeyer’s hard-fought win over Game on Dude in the Breeders’ Cup Classic was the public’s choice for 2011. For 2012, the recovery of Paynter from near-deadly battles with laminitis and colitis captured the hearts of voters like no other story. In 2013, fans recognized Mucho Macho Man’s nose victory in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic for his popular connections. The 2014 award went to California Chrome’s dominant win in Kentucky Derby 140. In 2015 there was a landslide vote in favor of American Pharoah’s historic Triple Crown-clinching Belmont Stakes win. In 2016, California Chrome was again part of the winning moment – a dramatic Dubai World Cup victory that came as Victor Espinoza’s saddle slipped out from underneath him.

Justify winning the 2016 Kentucky Derby. (Kurtis Coady)
Justify winning the 2017 Kentucky Derby. (Kurtis Coady)

In 2017, the tragic fire at San Luis Rey and the industry’s response led the way among the votes cast while Justify’s sweep of the Classics to become just the 13th Triple Crown winner was the clear pick the following year. In 2019, Maximum Security’s historic disqualification in the 145th Kentucky Derby – the first winner in Derby history to be demoted for a racing infraction— earned the distinction. In 2020, Authentic’s historic win in the 146th Kentucky Derby, run in September and without fans due to the coronavirus pandemic, was voted as the FanDuel Racing-NTRA Moment of the Year.

March Lorraine won the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

Breeders’ Cup success had eluded Japanese runners as evidenced by an 0-13 record heading into the 2021 Breeders’ Cup World Championships. That changed dramatically on Breeders’ Cup Saturday when Marche Lorraine (45-1/Distaff) and Loves Only You (4-1/Filly & Mare Turf) each won for trainer Yoshito Yahagi. The victories by the Japanese duo was voted the 2021 FanDuel Racing-NTRA Moment of the Year.

Cody's Wish battle Cyberknife for the win in the 2022 Breeders' Cup Mile. (Courtney Snow/Past The Wire)
Cody’s Wish battle Cyberknife for the win in the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Mile. (Courtney Snow/Past The Wire)

Finally, in 2022, the uplifting story between a boy and a horse that swept across America had the ultimate ending when Cody’s Wish won the Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky., on November 5, 2022 in dramatic fashion. With namesake Cody Dorman and family in attendance, Cody’s Wish gave a winning performance that continues to warm the hearts of all who watched in amazement. This story was voted the 2022 FanDuel Racing-NTRA Moment of the Year. 

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