American Pharoah helping charities off the track

American Pharoah helping charities off the track
Shannon Cogan pets racing legend American Pharaoh.

VERSAILLES, KY (WAVE) - The first Triple Crown winner in 37 years accomplished incredible things on the track. Now this special horse is impacting lives off the track as well.

Every afternoon on this sprawling 2,000 acre horse farm in Versailles, a sold out group of anxious people arrives.

Leanne Dewitt came from Canada, mostly to meet American Pharoah.

"It's one of those things almost brings tears to your eyes," Dewitt says.

They come from all over the world.

"I actually phoned up and asked them if I come at this time would I be able to see him," said Neal Sessa who traveled to Kentucky from California.

For them, the horse that allowed them to witness a Triple Crown victory in person, should be celebrated.

"This is an American Pharoah tattoo. I drew it one day looking at a picture of him from a work out and had my local tattoo artist tattoo it on my wrist," said Carolyn Johnson who came from Tulsa, Oklahoma for this chance.

They signed up months ago with Horse Country Tours, to meet Ashford Stud's most famous stallion.

"They sell out instantly within minutes," said Anne Hardy with Horse Country Tours. "Especially high demand time like April, getting into the Derby. It's a bucket list item for sure."

The tours began right after American Pharoah began his post race life at Ashford Stud in the fall of 2015.

Workers at Ashford Stud say he has maintained the excellent demeanor he became known for while on the backside of Churchill Downs.

"(He's) Settled in great," said Robyn Murray of Ashford Stud. "Continued to be really relaxed. Really calm."

Why wouldn't he? American Pharoah's days are spent in the breeding shed (up to four times a day), the paddock, and eating. He's gained 200 pounds.

While his life here is very different than on the racetracks, one thing that has remained the same is his love for baby carrots.

He still enjoys posing for the cameras. So far, more than 11,000 tours have come through Ashford Stud owned by Coolmore.

Coolmore donates its proceeds to local charities including Old Friends Farm, Thoroughbred Retirement Farm, and New Vocations which helps care for horses once they finish racing. They've also given money to Ronald McDonald House and Make-A-Wish Foundation.

His halters have also been donated to various auctions to raise money for non-profits.

Coolmore estimates American Pharoah has raised $500,000 for charities in the short time he's been at Ashford. He's an extremely philanthropic horse;  one still impacting lives even in his retirement.

Since the American Pharoah tours sell out quickly it's recommended you sign up to get a Horse Country tour newsletter to know when tours are being offered.

For more information, click here.

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