Raise a Native was bred by Happy Hill Farm, owned by Cortright Wetherill (1923-1988) and his wife Ella Anne Widener (1928-1986) whose Widener family of Philadelphia is one of the most prominent in American Thoroughbred racing history. Out of the mare Raise You, Raise a Native was sired by the 1954 United States Horse of the Year Native Dancer who was ranked #7 by the Blood-Horse magazine listing of the top 100 U.S. thoroughbred champions of the 20th Century.
Raise a Native was bought by Louis Wolfson as a yearling in 1962 for $39,000 and moved to Wolfson's Harbor View Farm in 1963. As a two-year-old, he was undefeated in four starts and tied or equaled track records three times. He won the sprint races, the Great American Stakes and the Belmont Juvenile.
After ending his racing career due to a bowed tendon in 1963, he was bought by Spendthrift Farm, a breeding syndicate in Lexington, Kentucky. Although the descendants of Raise a Native have had success racing on Turf in Europe, they generally have been more attuned to running on dirt. Among his offspring, he sired Alydar, Mr. Prospector, and Majestic Prince. He is notably the grandsire of Affirmed, Alysheba, Dancethruthedawn, Easy Goer, Gulch, Fusaichi Pegasus, Genuine Risk, Coastal, Conquistador Cielo, Criminal Type, Strike the Gold and Smart Strike.
As of 2008, 15 Kentucky Derby winners have had Raise a Native on their sire (paternal) line: Smarty Jones, Funny Cide, War Emblem, Monarchos, Fusaichi Pegasus, Real Quiet, Grindstone, Thunder Gulch, Strike the Gold, Unbridled, Alysheba, Genuine Risk, Affirmed, Street Sense and Majestic Prince. Only two Derby winners carried Raise a Native on their broodmare sire line: Barbaro and Real Quiet (who carried him on both lines).