Rockhill Native, the 1979 champion 2-year-old male, was euthanized March 19 at age 32. He resided at Louis Lee Haggin III’s Sycamore Farm near Lexington. Don Robinson, who owns nearby Winter Quarter Farm, and his son, Ferran, were in charge of caring for Rockhill Native.
As a 2-year-old, Rockhill Native won the Futurity (gr. I), Sapling (gr. I), and Cowdin (gr. II) Stakes, and the Jefferson Cup. He finished first in that year’s Hopeful Stakes (gr. I), but was disqualified for interference and placed sixth.
Rockhill Native went off the 2-1 favorite in the 1980 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) by virtue of an impressive score as the 1-2 favorite in the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland nine days before the big race. A gelding, he was bidding to become the first gelded Derby winner since Clyde Van Dusen in 1929. Rockhill Native made a strong early showing but weakened in the stretch and finished fifth behind winner Genuine Risk.
Rockhill Native skipped the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), won by Codex, and ran third in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) behind Temperence Hill and Genuine Risk. Rockhill Native experienced tendon trouble after the Belmont and never raced again. He was officially retired in April 1981.
For his career, Rockhill Native won 10 of 17 races and earned $465,122 for Harry A. Oak. He was trained throughout his career by Herbert Stevens and was ridden in all his races by John Oldham.
Oak purchased Kentucky-bred Rockhill Native for $26,000 at the 1978 Keeneland September yearling sale from Dr. E.W. Thomas. Rockhill Native was bred by Thomas and Carolaine Farm.
Rockhill Native will be buried near his dam, Beanery (by Cavan), at Winter Quarter. Also buried there is one of his former buddies, For the Flag. The second dam of unbeaten champion Zenyatta, For the Flag died in February.