To everyone at Saratoga on Whitney weekend: We would like to name each individual we met, but it would be an impossible task. And we apologize for that because all of you mean the world to us.
We couldn’t put Saratoga behind us without thanking you all. This place made such an impression on us that it certainly made leaving very difficult. Several times on the way home our conversation consisted of ‘when are we coming back?’ And that is something we are looking forward to.
We made a stop in Erie, Penn., to break up the 12-hour journey home. Cody and Kylie traveled like champs, but we didn’t want to put them through sitting for that long, so we found a few things to do along the way. We stopped at Niagara Falls on the way up and that was amazing.
As we were unloading a few things from our vehicle, something stopped us in our tracks. It was that special and magical Saratoga dirt. I was getting Cody’s chair out of the truck and couldn’t help but notice the dirt since it was on most of our luggage and other things. But what I noticed above everything else was the dirt on the tires of his chair. Cody had slipped it in there right under our nose! We didn’t realize until that moment how special that dirt was to us. That dirt carried us on one of our fondest memories of this journey Cody and Cody’s Wish have taken us on.
We stopped by the barn Sunday morning to say goodbye to Cody’s Wish and even got to feed him a few carrots. He looked great. Kylie even got to spend time riding her new friend, Bugsy, Bill Mott’s pony.
As we went around the barns talking to several wonderful people, Cody was collecting that magical dirt with every step. As I stopped and stared at those wheels for a moment, I couldn’t help but think of all the great footprints that have stepped in that dirt, human and equine. And I’m not just referring to some of the greatest horses that have run there, but also jockeys, trainers, athletes, actors and actresses. Maybe even a president or two have left footprints in that dirt.
I’m referring to anyone or any horse that has ever stepped foot on those grounds, no matter who they are or how they rank. What we witnessed that weekend was greatness in every direction, because all the people we got to meet carried love and a deep passion for this sport. And they carried love in their hearts for a wonderful story that just happens to evolve around our son Cody and a special horse that has shown him love in a way that I don’t think I can describe and give it justice. And we saw love in the hearts of people for each other and for the horses they care for. Simply put, if you carry love in your heart, a moment of greatness is just the next beat away.
We also saw tragedy on that dirt. Our prayers go out to all those involved with Maple Leaf Mel. Hopefully the love and passion everyone in the Thoroughbred family has will help them heal, in time, from the loss that was suffered. Just seeing the hurt in the eyes of those at the barns Sunday morning hasn’t left my mind since then. They’re like family to us now, and it’s painful to see family hurt in any way. We know that hurt extends beyond the barns, the whole community near and far feels it. Hopefully leaning on each other and time can help the healing that is needed.
Last weekend was certainly full of highs and lows. But the impact that Saratoga made on our family will remain at the top of the list for the rest of our lives. Who knows what lies ahead in the chapter that Cody and Cody’s Wish will write next. We know that one day all the chapters will come together in a book. We also know that the one that they just got finished writing was a really special one for us, because all of you at Saratoga helped write this one with them.
God Bless to all, and until we meet again, best of luck at the track!
Cody, Kylie, Leslie and Kelly Dorman
P.S. If they ever decide to put that dirt in a bottle and sell it, put us down first on the list. We know firsthand how valuable that special Saratoga dirt is.