09/15/2005 11:00PM

Ben Roach, breeder, dies at 86


Dr. Ben Roach, the founder of Parrish Hill Farm in Lexington, Ky., and the co-breeder of the 1999 Kentucky Derby winner and Horse of the Year Charismatic, died Friday morning at a hospital in Lexington after suffering a recent head injury, according to his son, Tom Roach II. Ben Roach was 86.

Roach fell down in his home on Sept. 2 shortly after returning from a weeklong vacation in Saratoga Springs, where he attended the Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course, according to his son. He never recovered from the fall, his son said.

Roach also bred Princess Rooney, the 1984 champion older mare and a winner of 17 of her 21 career starts. Other Grade 1 winners bred by Parrish Hill included Cormorant, Storm Tower, and Millenium Wind, a half brother to Charismatic who sold for $1.2 million as a yearling.

Roach was born in Midway, Ky., the location of Parrish Hill Farm, in 1918. His great-uncle was Jim Parrish, a prominent Kentucky breeder in the early 20th century.

Roach, who had a private practice in Lexington for 50 years and ran the Lucille Parker Markey Cancer Center at the University of Lexington, was the first chairman of the Department of Family Practice at the University of Kentucky and a past president of both the Kentucky Academy of Family Doctors and the Kentucky division of the American Cancer Society.