April 23rd 2012 – August 17 2018
‘He laughs at fear, afraid of nothing
He does not shy away from the sword
He does not stand still when the trumpets sound.’
As the last person to ‘own’ Tee Brown, I write his story with only the knowledge that I have in his last days and that which I have gathered from those who knew him before me.
His time with us , a far too short two months, is still a blessing . Such a fine horse he was! We are fortunate to have known him at all.
This is his story.
On April 23rd, 2012 a magnificent bay Thoroughbred colt born to the mare named Is Kylie Good and sired by the nationally beloved Big Brown took his first breath in Kentucky. Hopes and dreams manifested in the form of a horse, bred to be a champion! Regina and Barney Core , I’m sure , were delighted with this phenomenal colt.
I do not know much of his early life.
I like to think he was loved, celebrated, and a joy to his people.
In the fall of 2013 Tee was sold at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Sale for $45,000 . The buyer was Mark Glatt.
His first race was on a cloudy, muggy day August 30th, 2014 at Evangeline in Louisiana, for owner Albert Stall. Colby J. Hernandez the jockey. Tee finished 8th in a field of ten.
Three more races, with one he could not even finish were run before he won his first on February 17, 2015 for Stall, jockey Jamie Theriot aboard.
Tee Brown ran 32 races including the Louisiana Cup Turf Classic Stakes and Louisiana Legends Cheval Stakes (both Black Type) winning over $130,000 for his array of owners. He changed hands several times.
From November 2016 to January 2018 he was with the Harris’s , who doted on him and tended to his terrible hoof issues until they deemed him fit to run again.
‘We got him November 2016. He had some foot issues when we claimed him. We thought it best to give him time off until his feet were 100% so he came to our farm and we pampered those feet like crazy! He required injections in the left fore due to inflammation of the ankle/suspensory. We iced him regularly and injected with HA.’
He won for us in December 2017 and was claimed from us in January 2018′ says G. Harris.
One trainer, Cort Harrison recalls how much he ‘Loved them peppermints!’ he laughs. He was a nice horse and big! I had only been working the track two weeks when I met him, but I remember that guy. We didn’t run him but I remember him’.
And yet he won, even on that leg.
His last race was run on April 12, 2018 at Evangeline where he came in third for owner Christopher Harrington and trainer Eduardo Ramirez.
Two months later. . .
In June of 2018 Tee Brown was bailed from Thompson’s Kill Pen in Louisiana for $950.00. He was thin, terribly sick, riddled with abscesses not only in his feet but his neck, head, and legs. His left front ankle was enormous, and he favored it.
Two months after his last race, this was his fate. Stuck in a tiny pen with dozens of other horses slated for slaughter. Now and then, we are able to help a few avoid that ride to hell.
He was brought to Texas with 9 others (also Thoroughbreds ) from the same kill pen. The hell they endure there… no horse should suffer it.
Tee was massive. Seventeen hands of powerful horse… and a dimmed light in his eyes. Though he was here he was not fully ‘here’.
While others would graze, or delight in their feed and hay and attention, Tee would stare off at something only he could see. There was no meanness in this horse but there was not much life there, either. Battered, sore, sick.
He was tired.
After being seen by veterinarians and treated for strangles, which he seemed to be recovering from, he took a turn for the worse August 14th. The infection that had settled into his body had reached his brain.
His fight on earth ended surrounded by people who loved him and fought for him, but it was time.
On August 17th, 2018 ….He had had quite enough.
Dr. Smith was present. Even his eyes welled with tears on this one.
Tee did not lie still when his trumpet sounded. His legs churned as they did when on the track… eating up the ground with their length and power. This time, though his body did not move, those legs carried him truly home.
He was born to run…and he did.
He left this world far too early… for too young.
Heaven got one hell of a horse that day.
Run free Tee Brown, old son.
We love you.
Thank you to ~
Sire ~ Big Brown
From his point of view ~
‘My head ached, and my ankle throbbed. I laid on the cool floor , thinking of better things than the pain. Things not so terribly long ago… There was no longer the fog of painkillers, but strangely, the pain was starting to leave . I remembered how it felt to run on legs that did not hurt .
Of my mother rubbing her head across my back as I laid in the sunshine and dreamed of running
And I remember the man who would come to visit me… As a baby .
Later I would catch sight of him at the rail at the track sometimes. I hope he was proud.
I remembered the taste of peppermints.
I could hear her calling to me, the kind girl who took me out of that cramped filthy hell and brought me here and helped me.
And I could feel the love in her voice even through the fog that had settled over my brain long ago
Though the pain the pain was leaving… I could hear her . She stroked my head, my neck, told me it was up to me. Part of me wanted to stay, to fight, to show her I heard her.
My legs started to churn, lying there.
I couldn’t stop them.
Her voice began to fade, but not completely. She whispered ‘ I love you enough to let you go. It’s okay now. I am so sorry, but you can go if you want to. I know you need to. ‘
The man with the nice voice said ‘He’s tired. It’s too much, even for him.’
I fought it for a minute but then……….
All was still.
She was crying.
They all were. The girls, the man with kind eyes and soft hands, the boy. . . . but all my pain was gone!
I hope she sees that, and knows that I know she cared.
She cared enough to help me, and when it was time, to let me run again. This time, whenever, however I chose…. forever.
I hope she can hear me say, too, help my friends. Hell , help the ones I didn’t get along with ,too. Non one of them is less deserving than the next.
Now….if you’ll excuse me, I have a race run!
Gillian sent his halter, leather with brass nameplate, which will hang on the wall of our office in remembrance.
A note from Shirley Ford
Horsewoman, advocate, and an amazing woman who continues to help horses in need and is a staunch Thoroughbred lover ~
‘I have been doing some chronology on Tee Brown. He was purchased as a yearling at the Keeneland Fasig Tipton sales in 2013 by Mark Glatt,for $45,000. Apparently he was bought by Norman Stables. His first race was in Aug 2014 at Evangeline Downs, as a 2 year old. He place 8th. Norman Stables continued racing him at the Louisiana racetracks until Nov 22,2016 at Delta Downs. He came in 3rd and was claimed for $15,000 by Gillian & Kirk Harris. On Jan 11, 2018 at Delta Downs he was claimed by Arian Haxhillan for $5000. He came in 4th in Race 7. Mr Haxhillan only raced him three times on Feb 2 , Feb 7 and March 8. He came in 2d, 1st and 4th respectively – all at Delta Downs. On March 8 he was claimed for the last time by Christopher Harrington and ran his last race on April 12 at Evangeline Downs and came in 3rd. We may never know when his injuries first presented themselves. We do know that when he was entered in his last claiming races he was suffering lameness and someone was administering painkilling drugs to mask the pain so he could race one last time. We can only conjecture that the administered drugs in his neck resulted in an abscess that was unattended. By the time he came to Soul Horse the abscess was growing internally and when it burst all that could be done was to humanely euthanize this Champion Racehorse. He may not have been on the Triple Crown road but over his short life he amassed $138,625 for his owners with the last $27,150 being during his 2018 campaign. Four owners, all wanting a piece of the action that this horse was capable to provide. Four owners who turned aside when Tee most needed them to see to his well being. One Rescue who brought Tee to sanctuary with the hope that he would reside his days at Old Friends – that he would be appreciated for all that he gave the sport of racing; that he would enjoy the tourists who would give him carrots and the little children who would be in awe of all the wonders of horses that raced. Instead, with human love and kindness, he was released from his pain on earth. We will believe that he is running the meadows of racing heaven with all those, famous or not, who have gone before him. May God Bless him because he is deserving.’