11/19/2008 12:00AM

Rocky Gulch makes final track appearance

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Rocky Gulch, the all-time richest New Mexico-bred Thoroughbred, was officially retired earlier this month during the New Mexico Cup card at Zia Park. He made an appearance at the track, which named a stakes in his honor.

Rocky Gulch, a 7-year-old gelding, won 18 of 38 races during his career, and earned $1,151,725.

"He's officially retired," said Larry Teague, who bred and raced Rocky Gulch.

Teague said he has given the horse to Barbara Brown, the wife of Rocky Gulch's longtime trainer, Terry Walker. The horse last raced at Sunland on Dec. 16, 2007, finishing off the board in the $125,000 Johnie L. Jamison Handicap.

Teague said Rocky Gulch was found to have a tear in his left front tendon. The decision was made to call it a career with the horse, who built a following for spotting large amounts of weight to his rivals while winning handicaps across New Mexico. Teague said he looks for Rocky Gulch to work as a stable pony, perhaps turning up this winter at Sunland Park.

"That's my understanding, that what he's going to be doing is saddling up in the mornings and taking the youngsters out there," said Teague.

The biggest threat to Rocky Gulch's earnings record is Peppers Pride, who is 18 for 18 with earnings of $991,085.

* Zia handled $1,020,004 on its New Mexico Cup card, up 70 percent from the $601,154 bet in 2007.