OTTB Showcase: BLUE BLUE SEA (a.k.a. “Blue”)
Name: Blue Blue Sea (a.k.a. “Blue”)
Born: January 22, 1999
Height: 15.3 hands
Sire: Sea Hero
Sale History: None
Race Record: 41-6-5-4
Race Earnings: $53,078
In this day and age you can find pretty much anything on the internet, and these days it seems like everybody has a Facebook page. It's there, doing some social media networking of my own, that I first heard of Blue Blue Sea.
Regally bred to be an elite runner, Blue Blue Sea is by Kentucky Derby winner Sea Hero and out of Alytude, a daughter of Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont runner-up Alydar. His family has gone international since his birth, as his sire now resides in Turkey and his dam is located in Puerto Rico.
Blue Blue Sea raced at Rockingham Park, Suffolk Downs, and Charles Town until the age of five, when he was retired and placed on the CANTER (the Communication Alliance to Network Thoroughbred Ex-Racehorses) website to be sold as a riding horse.
It was on that website, in 2004, that Miranda Prather first laid eyes on Blue Blue Sea.
“His picture just spoke to me…I looked at it several times a day,” said Miranda. “[His great-grandsire] Alydar is my favorite racehorse of all time, and Alysheba is my favorite son of my favorite racehorse.”
Then-29-year-old Maryland-based Miranda put a call into Blue's owner, who informed her that he'd had a number of inquiries about the horse. Disappointed, Miranda gave him her information, just in case the other inquiries didn't work out. Then, one day when Miranda was home sick from work, she received the phone call that changed her life. It was Blue's owner calling to let her know that the other inquiries hadn't panned out and asking if she would like to come out and look at Blue.
“I got to speak with his last owner and trainer on the track, and through my own research and time on the track volunteering with CANTER, I have been able to make contact with two more former trainers and two of his previous owners,” said Miranda. “All remember him fondly and are genuinely happy to hear he is safe. Some of them even visit his Facebook page and keep up with his life after the track. I love hearing from his former track people.”
Yes, you read that correctly. Blue Blue Sea has his own Facebook page.
While Miranda purchased Blue with intentions of getting back into riding and showing in the areas of dressage and jumping, life had other plans.
First she helped Blue get over his “race track feet,” which consisted of shelly, brittle hooves as well as a club foot. Next was dealing with his over-attraction to fillies, which a series of tests and procedures revealed to be the result of being proud cut.
“He was coming along well in 2006 and over his initial issues, so I was ready to start taking him to a few shows. I never got to,” said Miranda. “In August he had a bout of colic and spiked a 104 degree fever. Two days later, he colicked again, and did so again and again five more times over the course of four weeks and lost about 300 pounds.”
The vets in Miranda's area were at a loss as to what Blue's diagnosis was and referred him to the Marion Scott duPont Center in Leesburg, Virginia and it was there that Blue was diagnosed with a malabsorption disorder.
“They said he would only live another one or two years and recommended euthanasia,” said Miranda. “I couldn't accept that at the time. I did lots of my own research and had some wonderful vets, like Dr. Brown at Valley Equine Associates and Dr. Barton at the University of Georgia, who tipped me off to Dr Stratton-Phelps in California for a nutrition work-up.”
Thanks to Miranda's unwavering dedication to treating Blue's condition, he has more than surpassed his “one to two years to live” prognosis by roughly five. The main change in his diet is the switch from hay to hay pellets and Miranda says that while he still gets colic issues and has to be on prednisolone from time to time, his healthy days far outweigh his sick days and no one can tell he has serious health issues.
“I don't ride him much, but we do trick training, which is so much fun,” said Miranda.
Miranda, who works in the world of publishing, is planning to unveil a series of children's books featuring Blue. She also manages a Facebook page on behalf of Blue with an aim of educating people about off-track Thoroughbreds and supporting people who are facing seemingly insurmountable illnesses, either themselves or through their human or equine family members.
“My desire is to offer some hope to other owners who might be faced with the same thing Blue was. It may not work in every case, but at least there is some hope from Blue's tale,” said Miranda.
Through Blue's Facebook page, Miranda recently spearheaded a movement to rescue Blue's brother, Gran Huracan, from an unfortunate demise in Puerto Rico when his racing career came to an end in that country. Gran Huracan is now at Pure Thoughts Thoroughbreds in Loxahatchee, Florida.
“I started the Facebook page first to spread the message about Blue's disorder…to bring more light to it…to let people know there are potential options,” said Miranda.
Today, the page serves so many more purposes.
“I love Thoroughbreds' hearts. Sometimes it's up to us to give them their voice.”
If you have or know of a retired Thoroughbred with an interesting story to tell, we'd love to hear about it! Just email Jen Roytz ([email protected]) with the horse's Jockey Club name, background story, and a few photos.
Jen Roytz is the marketing and communications director at Three Chimneys Farm in Midway, Kentucky. She also handles the farm's Thoroughbred aftercare efforts. She currently owns two retired Thoroughbreds: Point of Impact (by Point Given; a.k.a. Boomer), who retired from racing in late 2011 and is just starting back under saddle to find his forte as a riding horse, and Shotgun Shine (by Tale of the Cat, a.k.a. Gage), who is in training as a hunter/jumper. Contact Jen on Facebook and Twitter.
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