02/20/2015 3:23PM

Sucher, breeder of two Hall of Famers, dies at age 89


Donald Sucher, who bred Hall of Fame racemares Chris Evert and Winning Colors, died Feb. 15 in Georgetown, Ky., at age 89.

Sucher, along with his wife, Shirley, owned Echo Valley Horse Farm in Georgetown. Among their top runners was stakes winner Miss Carmie, named for their daughter. Miss Carmie went on to become their foundation mare, producing Chris Evert, and multiple stakes winner All Rainbows, the dam of Winning Colors.

Chris Evert, racing for Carl Rosen, won the 1974 Acorn Stakes, Mother Goose Stakes, and Coaching Club American Oaks, which at the time was recognized at the Filly Triple Crown. She also won a Hollywood Park match race against Miss Musket by 50 lengths, finished second in the Alabama Stakes, and was third in the Travers Stakes. She was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1988.

Winning Colors, who raced for Eugene Klein, is the third and most recent filly to win the Kentucky Derby, taking the classic in 1988. She also defeated males in the Santa Anita Derby, placed in the Preakness Stakes, and was second to Personal Ensign in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. She entered the Hall of Fame in 2000.

Echo Valley also bred former Broodmare of the Year Dear Birdie, dam of Belmont Stakes winner and classic sire Birdstone, Kentucky Oaks winner and champion Bird Town, graded stakes-placed Mountain Bird, and stakes-placed So Long Birdie. Several of her daughters are the dams or second dams of stakes performers, including Bird Town, whose daughter Elusive Bird produced Grade 2-placed Pow Wow Wow. Another of Elusive Bird’s progeny, Gorgeous Bird, will start in Saturday’s Fountain of Youth Stakes.

Sucher, who served in the Navy in World War II, was a member of the Keeneland Club and Thoroughbred Club, among other organizations.

Sucher is survived by his wife, Shirley; daughter, Carmie; and sons, Bruce, Jeff, and Steve. A memorial will be held on Saturday at Johnson’s Funeral Home in Georgetown, with a funeral to be held out of state.

Memorial contributions may be made to Old Friends, the Thoroughbred aftercare organization based out of Georgetown.