01/20/2016 3:21PM

Shirley Sucher, breeder of Winning Colors and Chris Evert, dies


Shirley Lewis Sucher, the co-founder of Echo Valley Horse Farm in Georgetown, Ky. and breeder of Hall of Famers Winning Colors and Chris Evert, died Sunday. She was 76.

A native of Mount Pleasant, Mich., Sucher was a model in New York City before marrying Donald Sucher and opening their farm southwest of Georgetown. They were married 53 years until Donald Sucher’s death in February 2015.

The most prominent runners bred by the Echo Valley operation were Winning Colors, winner of the 1988 Kentucky Derby and that year’s champion 3-year-old female, and Chris Evert, the champion 3-year-old filly of 1974. Dear Birdie, the 2004 Broodmare of the Year and dam of Belmont Stakes winner Birdstone and Kentucky Oaks winner Bird Town, was also a product of the Suchers' breeding program.

As owners, the Suchers campaigned stakes winner Miss Carmie, a half-sister to Chris Evert.

Echo Valley Horse Farm also operated as a consignment operation at auctions, selling Winning Colors to trainer D. Wayne Lukas for $575,000 at the 1986 Keeneland July yearling sale.

Outside of the Thoroughbred industry, Sucher was an avid golfer, belonging to the Greenbrier Golf and Country Club and Bocaire Country Club in Florida.

Sucher is survived by her daughter Carmie, as well as Donald’s sons Bruce, Jeff, and Steve.

A celebration of life will be held Saturday at Johnson’s Funeral Home in Georgetown from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Memorials may be made to the Scott County Humane Society or Kentucky Equine Humane Society.