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Lil E. Tee

Lil E. Tee
The Longest Shot by John Eisenberg
Sire At the Threshold
Dam Eileen's Moment
Grandsire Norcliffe
Damsire For The Moment
Gender Stallion
Foaled 1989
Country United States
Color Bay
Breeder Lawrence I. Littman
Owner W. Cal Partee
Trainer Lynn S. Whiting
Record 13: 7-4-1
Earnings $1,437,506.
Lil E. Tee is a thoroughbred racehorse out of Eileen's Moment by At the Threshold. He was born around 1989 in the United States, and was bred by Lawrence I. Littman.
Major wins
Kentucky Derby (1992)
Lil E. Tee Handicap at Presque Isle Downs
Horse (Equus ferus caballus)

Lil E. Tee (1989 - March 18, 2009) was an American-bred Thoroughbred racehorse who in 1992 scored one of the biggest upsets in the history of the Kentucky Derby.

A bay colt, Lil E. Tee was bred in Pennsylvania by Lawrence I. Littman. Much has been said about what many sportswriters have described as Lil E. Tee's less than stellar pedigree. However, his grandsire was Norcliffe who was a son of the U.S. Hall of Fame Champion Buckpasser. Norcliffe earned Horse of the Year honours in Canada and was elected to the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. At stud, Norcliffe was North America's leading juvenile sire by number of wins and second in earnings in 1981.

Lil E. Tee was euthanized on March 18, 2009, after the horse became ill in February following an operation to repair an obstructed bowel and struggled to recover.[1]



As a weanling, Lil E. Tee had nearly died but was saved by emergency stomach surgery. Considered to have little racing potential, he was sold for $2,000 as a yearling, and at age two his owner tried to sell him again but was rejected by an auction company who deemed the horse unsaleable. Lil E. Tee finally ended up in the hands of a Florida owner and was stabled at Calder Race Course in Miami, Florida where he showed some promise, winning a 7 furlong maiden race. He was then sold again, this time to W. Cal Partee who shipped him to trainer Lynn S. Whiting at Churchill Downs where Lil E. Tee won a one mile allowance race. Of his four starts at age two, the horse won twice and finished second twice. Racing in Arkansas, at age three he won the Grade II Jim Beam Stakes and finished second by a neck to Pine Bluff in the Arkansas Derby, results that led to his appearance in the 1992 Kentucky Derby.

Lil E. Tee was ridden by jockey Pat Day who hadn't won a Derby in ten previous attempts. On a track rated as fast, Lil E. Tee was all but forgotten by a record crowd that had come to see European Horse of the Year, Arazi. The press had talked about little except Arazi since his dominating win in the previous Octobers' Breeders' Cup Juvenile. The New York Times called Arazi "mythical and almost mystical" and TIME magazine said "Arazi is fast winning a reputation as the second coming of Secretariat." Joe Hirsch, a respected columnist with the New Jersey-based Daily Racing Form wrote that Arazi was "such an extraordinary animal that he makes other great horses look like hacks" and Arazi's jockey Patrick Valenzuela, who had won the 1989 Derby aboard Sunday Silence, assured reporters that "This race is over." Fifteen years after his Breeders' Cup win, a National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) 2006 article said that: "Arazi turned in what many still consider to be the single-most spectacular performance in Breeders' Cup history." [1] No wonder then that most Kentucky Derby observers felt Lil E. Tee had no business running in the most prestigious horse race in America. Bettors agreed, and he went off at 18:1 odds.

The Race

Starting in post position #10, Lil E. Tee got off to a clean start in the 1992 Kentucky Derby but was still in tenth place after half a mile. Arazi, who had started on the far outside in pole position #17, made the kind of explosive move he was famous for. ABC television announcer Dave Johnson exclaimed "Arazi is flying" as the colt went seven wide, sweeping past horse after horse to move into third place tightly bunched with the leaders. Lil E. Tee followed Arazi, moving into 5th place and as they approached the home stretch Arazi tired badly. Lil E. Tee made his own move and the once unwanted colt soon caught the front running Casual Lies to win the most prestigious race in America and $724,800.

After the Derby, Lil E. Tee was entered in the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the American Triple Crown races. He finished 5th, five lengths behind winner Pine Bluff. Lil E. Tee then skipped the Belmont Stakes after being diagnosed with a lung infection. On June 9, the colt's racing season ended when he underwent arthroscopic surgery to remove bone chips from his front ankles. Recovered, in 1993, at age 4, Lil E. Tee's only significant win came in the Grade II Razorback Handicap and he had a 2nd place finish in the Oaklawn Handicap. He was retired that year with a lifetime record of 7-4-1 from 13 starts and earnings of $1,437,506.

Lil E. Tee stood at stud at Old Frankfort Stud near Lexington, Kentucky until he was euthanized on March 18, 2009. Farm owner Jim Plemmons said the horse fell ill the month prior following an operation to repair an obstructed bowel. Lil E. Tee produced a live foal at Old Frankfort Stud in February 2009.


  • John Eisenberg The Longest Shot: Lil E. Tee and the Kentucky Derby (1996) University Press of Kentucky ISBN 0-8131-1956-1

External links



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