This Day in History: York County horse surprises 1992 Kentucky Derby

** FILE ** This is a May 2, 1992 file photo showing jockey Pat Day gesturing after winning the Kentucky Derby on Lil E. Tee at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/John Goff, File)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHTM) – Twenty-five years ago today, a York County horse surprised bettors by pulling off a huge upset in the Kentucky Derby.

Lil E.Tee was a 16-1 outsider when he left the gate a quarter century ago in the celebrated Run for the Roses. Traveling well behind the front runners, Lil E.Tee managed a rally to beat two other longshots to the wire and pay $35.60 for a $2 win wager.

The thoroughbred’s success was the high point in a racing career that began with little fanfare.

Bred at a small farm in York County, Little E.Tee’s stay in the Keystone State would be brief. Believing the young colt to have health problems, Lil E.Tee’s breeder sold him to a Florida farm for $2,000.

Finally reaching the track as a 2-year-old in 1991, Lil E.Tee began to open some eyes with two wins in four races.  The following year he won the Jim Beam Stakes in Arkansas then finished second in the Arkansas Derby to earn a start in the Derby.

Lil E.Tee’s victory at Churchill Downs was a special one for his jockey, Pat Day. In a career full of accomplishments, hall-of-famer Day would only celebrate one Kentucky Derby victory with his ride on the Pennsylvania-bred colt.

Lil E.Tee would race several more times in 1993 before retiring due to ankle problems.  With seven victories in 13 races, Lil E.Tee earned more than $1.4 million dollars.

He retired to stud in Kentucky where he enjoyed modest success as a sire.

Lil E.Tee fell ill and was euthanized in March, 2009, just 11-days short of his 20th birthday.

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