08/03/2013 10:03AM

Rockport Harbor euthanized due to laminitis

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Jeff Coady/Coady Photography
Rockport Harbor, a Grade 2 winner and sire, was euthanized on Aug. 2 due to laminitis. He raced for owner Rick Porter during the mid-2000s and was undefeated as a juvenile.

Rockport Harbor, a Grade 2 winner and leading Pennsylvania sire, was euthanized on Friday at New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, Pa., due to complications from laminitis at age 11.

A son of prominent sire Unbridled’s Song, who died on July 26, Rockport Harbor stood at Darley’s Jonabell Farm in Lexington, Ky., for his first six seasons before being relocated to Dr. William Solomon’s Pin Oak Lane Stud in New Freedom, Pa., last fall. Through Aug. 2, Rockport Harbor leads the state’s general sire list with nearly $3.1 million in progeny earnings.

“It is with great sadness that I report that Rockport Harbor has been euthanized,” said former owner Rick Porter, who posted a link to the horse’s win in the 2004 Remsen Stakes on his Facebook page. “Rocky holds a very special place in my heart. He was the first really good colt I had in my stable . . . [his win in the 2004] Nashua was the start of what became a trademark for me – [wearing a] bowtie. I’ve not worn a conventional tie since the Nashua except for funerals, and we even have a 2-year-old colt named Lucky Bowtie in honor of the great Rockport Harbor.

“Rocky is responsible for a lot of joy that I’ve gotten from horse racing, and I’ll never forget him.”

Porter bought Rockport Harbor for $470,000 at the 2003 Keeneland September yearling auction. The precocious colt won his first four starts as a juvenile in 2004, capped by victories in the Grade 3 Nashua and the Grade 2 Remsen at Aqueduct. He suffered a hoof injury in the Remsen and never recaptured his 2-year-old form at 3 and 4, although he did win the Grade 3 Essex Handicap at Oaklawn in his next-to-last start. Overall, Rockport Harbor won five times from eight starts and earned $324,800.

As a stallion, Rockport Harbor’s best runners included Grade 3 winners May Day Rose, Pataky Kid, and Bryan’s Jewel. Bryan’s Jewel has won two stakes this year, including the Grade 3 Obeah Handicap at Delaware. Rockport Harbor’s progeny have won 187 races and earned over $12.7 million through Aug. 2.

Bred in Kentucky by Heiligbrodt Racing Stable and Taylor Made Farm – the latter of which stood Unbridled’s Song – Rockport Harbor was out of the stakes-winning Copelan mare Regal Miss Copelan.