07/18/2011 2:08PM

Brown Bess, champion turf mare, dead at 29


Brown Bess, the champion turf female of 1989 who was affectionately known as Mighty Mite to her California fans, was euthanized on July 15 because of complications from colic, according to the farm where she was boarded. She was 29, and was buried at Harris Farms in Coalinga, Calif., where she had been based for the past several years.

A small horse, Brown Bess was 7 years old when she was voted the Eclipse Award-winning turf female, winning two Grade 1 grass races that year, the Yellow Ribbon Invitational Stakes and the Ramona Handicap, along with three Grade 3 grass races. Also that year, she finished third in a Grade 2 race against males.

Following her championship season, Brown Bess won the Grade 1 Santa Barbara Handicap and ran third in the Grade 1 Santa Ana Handicap and the Grade 3 Yerba Buena Handicap. She was retired that year after suffering a slight injury while preparing to defend her title in the Yellow Ribbon.

In total, Brown Bess won 16 races during her 36-race career and had 30 in-the-money finishes, earning $1,300,920. She was based in Northern California under trainer Chuck Jenda, and she never traveled outside of her home state.

By Petrone and out of the Chicakadee mare Windy Sands, Brown Bess produced only one winner from six named foals as a broodmare. She was retired from broodmare duty in 2002 by her owner and breeder, Suzanne Pashayan.