American Pharoah manager denies horse bit Mike Pence during 2018 visit

Blake Schuster
Yahoo Sports Contributor
Governor Mike Pence, the Republican Vice Presidential candidate, addresses supporters at a rally in a barn at the Bruere Seed Farm, Prole, Iowa, November 3, 2016. (Photo by Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

Either Mike Pence has besmirched Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, or the champion horse bruised the Vice President of the United States. In any case, the two have found themselves in the strangest of political scandals.

The vice president recently told a group of House Republicans at a policy retreat about his visit with the famed horse last year. While making a point about being resilient in their jobs, Pence reportedly said American Pharoah bit his arm so hard he nearly collapsed.

“I just gritted my teeth and smiled,” Pence said. “Because you know what, in our line of work, you’re gonna get bit sometimes, but you keep fighting forward.”

It’s certainly a colorful story that gets the point across — but it may not have actually happened.

“If he gave someone a nasty bite, I’d know it,” Dermot Ryan, the America manager for the racehorse-breeding company Coolmore, told the McClatchy news group.

The incident was alleged to have occurred during a trip to Kentucky to support the congressional campaign of Garland Barr in March 2018 as he sought, and ultimately won, reelection to the House of Representatives.

According to Pence, his visit to Ashford Stud farm turned violent as the VP was offered an opportunity to hold American Pharoah’s reins. That’s when Pence says the horse chomped down on him.

Where things get a little odd is that no one has been able to completely confirm Pence’s series of events. His office has yet to respond for comment while Barr’s office told reporters the congressman did not witness the bite however Pence showed his bruise to the Kentucky representative later on aboard Air Force Two.

Ryan told McClatchy American Pharoah is a “sweet” horse and that it would be out of character for him to bite someone.

Pence, a self-described avid horseback rider, has told the story once before at the Governor’s Derby Eve Gala in Kentucky, saying he shows people the mark it left.

It appears the only way to get to the bottom of this issues is to get the Kentucky Derby winner and Vice President in a room together again to see if the horse’s bite matches the mark on Pence’s arm.

In any case, human flesh wasn’t the only thing allegedly chewed up during Pence’s visit to the farm.

“I did go ahead and take a little nibble of [horse feed],” Pence previously said. “I think that increases the likelihood that the next winner of the Kentucky Derby and I had the same thing for dinner.”

So far no one is disputing that allegation.

– – – – – –

Blake Schuster is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

More from Yahoo Sports: