09/05/2011 9:27AM

Tom Roach dies at 63; bred Derby winner Charismatic, owned Parrish Hill Farm


LEXINGTON, Ky. – Tom Roach, co-breeder of dual classic winner and 1999 Horse of the Year Charismatic, died Sept. 3 after a long illness. He was 63.

Thompson Marcus Roach II operated Parrish Hill Farm in Midway, Ky., on property originally farmed by his great, great uncle, the breeder James Parrish, in the early 1900s. Roach’s father, Dr. Ben Roach, also bred horses at the farm, including such greats as 1984 champion older female Princess Rooney. The elder Roach died in 2005.

A graduate of Duke University, Tom Roach returned to Kentucky to attend the University of Kentucky law school in Lexington but decided in 1974 to join the family breeding business instead.

It was at Parrish Hill that Charismatic was foaled. The chestnut colt was the result of a foal-sharing agreement between Ben and Tom Roach, who provided their Drone broodmare Bali Babe, and Lane’s End owner Will Farish, who put up the breeding season to Summer Squall. The chestnut colt won the 1999 Kentucky Derby and Preakness and finished third behind Lemon Drop Kid in the Belmont. Charismatic suffered a career-ending injury near the Belmont wire, a moment made famous when the late jockey Chris Antley dismounted on the track and held up the colt’s injured left front leg.

Roach sold the Parrish Hill property to Michael Moreno and Eric Guillot’s Southern Equine Stable in 2008 and relocated the family operation to a farm near Versailles, Ky., which still operates under the Parrish Hill name.

Among numerous other important horses the Roaches bred at Parrish Hill were Charismatic’s half-brother and Grade 1 winner Millennium Wind, Grade 1 winners Cormorant and Storm Tower, and nine-time stakes winner Max’s Pal.
Roach is survived by his wife, Robyn Pulley Roach; daughters Amanda Parrish Roach and Hallie Roach Lewis; and grandson Parrish Benjamin Lewis.

Funeral arrangements at Kerr Brothers in Lexington were pending.