Mike Pence’s boast that he was bitten by a champion racing horse so hard he “almost collapsed” has been rejected by the manager of the farm.
“I just gritted my teeth and smiled,” Mr Pence told House Republicans in Baltimore on Friday. “Because you know what, in our line of work, you’re gonna get bit sometimes but you keep fighting forward.”
The audience cheered his story but Dermot Ryan, who was present during the meeting billed as “VP meets AP”, told the McClatchy news group that he did not see any bite.
“If he gave someone a nasty bite, I’d know it,” said Mr Ryan, America manager for racehorse-breeding company Coolmore.
Mr Ryan described American Pharoah as a “sweet” horse that would be unlikely to savage anyone, let alone the vice-president.
A spokesman for Mr Barr, who had invited Mr Pence to join him for a visit to the stud farm, said the congressman did not witness the alleged bite.
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However he did see the resulting bruise when the vice-president “showed it off on Air Force Two”, said Jodi Whitaker.
American Pharoah became the first to achieve the “Grand Slam” of thoroughbred racing events in 2015 when he became the American Triple Crown and the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
He retired the same year and began breeding in 2016 after being sold to Ashford Stud for a reported $13.8m.
Mr Pence, who has described himself as a “horse guy”, said that he and his wife Karen ”like to go horseback riding every chance we get.”
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Donald Trump also appears to be a fan of horse racing. In May the president tweeted about the Kentucky Derby, blaming the decision to overturn the result on “political correctness”.