Bob Baffert’s famous pony horse, Smokey, was auctioned off on December 5th, with the proceeds going to Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Home. The 11-year old buckskin gelding sold for $80,000 at an auction by Twombly Performance Horses, a renowned ranch horse operation in the Quarter Horse world that specializes in roping and reining horses. Smokey, whose registered name is This Whiz Shines, is moving to Colorado where he will be enjoyed by the family’s young kids.
Smokey is best known as the lead pony for American Pharoah, The 14.3″ hand gelding is known for his unruffled temperament and his athleticism. Baffert bought Smokey as a 6-year-old from Dan Twombly both to be a lead pony and for his son Bode to ride.
“We ride the hills and see deer, and coyotes, and rattlesnakes,” Twombly said. “And we feed with four-wheelers and tractors. And we expose him to a lot of other things that he hasn’t seen before. But he was always super-quiet. Gentle. Really athletic… Anything you wanted to do on that horse, he had the mind and the ability to do it.”
For many fans, Smokey was a celebrity almost as beloved as Baffert’s racehorses. The trainer also considered him a good luck charm and would rub his head before big races.
Think of the lucky kids who now get to ride Smokey on their own adventures and think about the days he was the calming influence on a Triple Crown winner. Of course, maybe Smokey is the lucky one, with a family of kids to pamper him.