by John Wilkinson
He is the likely the second most photographed horse at Belmont Park this week, although he is not a racehorse. In fact, he’s not even a thoroughbred.
Being best buds with the champ has its perks, as Bob Baffert’s stable pony “Smokey” is proving. Like a reassuring shadow, he’s been by American Pharoah’s side for every plane ride on AirHorseOne, each van ride to the racetrack and ever the escort for the daily morning exercises. Horses like a routine, and in a whirlwind month that’s taken the Triple Crown winner to three different barns in three different states, Smokey’s role is much more than ornamental.
“He’s my favorite horse in the barn,” Baffert boasted. “He’s such a cool horse…completely bombproof.”
He may be “Smokey” here in the Baffert barn, but the 6-year-old buckskin gelding’s registered name is This Whiz Shines, an ex-reining Quarter Horse Baffert purchased from Nebraskan Dan Twombly, of Twombly Performance Horses.
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Source: Horse Collaborative