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. Raise a Native was 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. His dam was the good stakes winner Raise You, by Case Ace. Raise a Native was sold as a weanling to Mrs. E. H. Augustus for a record sum of $22,000 ($180,000 inflation adjusted). He was later was bought by Louis Wolfson as a yearling in 1962 for $39,000 ($320,000 inflation adjusted) and moved to Wolfson's Harbor View Farm in 1963.
Trained by future Hall of Fame inductee Burley Parke, as a two-year-old Raise a Native was undefeated in four starts and set or equaled track records three times. He won the sprint races the Great American Stakes and the Belmont Juvenile and was voted American Champion Two-Year-Old Colt by Turf & Sports Digest. The rival Daily Racing Form and Thoroughbred Racing Association polls were topped by Hurry to Market.
After ending his racing career due to a bowed tendon in 1963, Raise a Native 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, Crowned Prince (won Dewhurst Stakes), Exclusive Native (Arlington Classic Stakes etc.), Mr. Prospector, and Majestic Prince. He is notably the grandsire of Affirmed, Alysheba, Dancethruthedawn, Easy Goer, Gulch, Fusaichi Pegasus, Genuine Risk, Coastal, Meadowlake (undefeated), Conquistador Cielo, Criminal Type, Strike the Gold and Smart Strike. He is the great-great-grandsire of two time Horse of the Year Curlin, winner of the 2007 Preakness and Breeders Cup Classic, and 2008 Dubai World Cup, Raven's Pass, winner of the 2008 Breeders' Cup Classic and Zenyatta, winner of the 2008 Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic and 2009 Breeders' Cup Classic.
As of 2017, 20 Kentucky Derby winners have had Raise a Native on their (paternal) sire line: American Pharoah, Always Dreaming, I'll Have Another, Super Saver, Big Brown, 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 three Derby winners carried Raise a Native on their broodmare sire line: Barbaro, Mine that Bird and Real Quiet (who carried him on both lines). American Pharoah is also descended from Raise a Native through his maternal grandam, Ecliptical, who was sired by Exclusive Native, as is 2016 Kentucky Derby winner, Nyquist, through his maternal grandam Seeking Regina, a great-grandaughter of Raise A Native.