20 Years Later: Derby hero Silver Charm still hamming it up

Updated: May. 2, 2017 at 7:59 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It's hard to believe it's been 20 years since the Hall of Fame team of Bob Baffert and Gary Stevens made Kentucky Derby history with a horse named Silver Charm.

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After a breeding career, owners Bob and Beverly Lewis made sure Silver Charm's retirement would be in his old Kentucky home.

Silver Charm is looking more like a silver fox these days, two decades after he romped to wins in the Derby and the Preakness Stakes before falling short in his Triple Crown bid to Touch Gold in the Belmont Stakes.

But if a recent visit to Old Friends Farm in Georgetown is any indication, Silver Charm is enjoying life, again in a starring role.

"We get so many folks who just cry because they're so excited," Old Friends spokeswoman Barbara Fossum said of the fan reaction when visitors first lay eyes on Silver Charm.

"I got kissed by Silver Charm; that was fun," said Hallie Hawkins, from Connecticut.

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Old Friends founder Michael Blowen said he asked and asked and asked for years when Silver Charm would be retired. But the good news he had long coveted came in December 2014.

"I freaked out because he's my favorite horse," Blowen said. "It's huge."

Baffert, who trained the sport's most recent Triple Crown champ -- American Pharoah in 2015 -- has visited Silver Charm at Old Friends, as has Stevens. Blowen said tourism has doubled at the farm thanks to Silver Charm, including visitors from as far away as New Zealand and Japan.

His old rival, Touch Gold, just happens to be in the field next to Silver Charm, prompting Blowen to imagine what late-night chats might be like between the two legends.

"Just like Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus," he said.

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Silver Charm still appears to know when the cameras are rolling; and in those moments he takes the spotlight, perhaps even playing the role of a photobomber during a recent video shoot.

"He's a ham," racing fan Christopher Hawkins said.

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