Prominent NY Horsewoman O'Cain Passes Away

Suzie O'Cain

Suzie O'Cain, one of the most well-known and unique personalities in the Thoroughbred industry in New York and who managed the late Carl Lizza's Highcliff Farm in Delanson for 23 years alongside her husband Dr. C. Lynwood 'Doc' O'Cain, passed away Jan. 4 in Saratoga Springs following a battle with breast cancer.

Born in Madison, Wisconsin and raised in Mississippi, Suzie O'Cain attended the state university in Oxford and later graduated with a Bachelor's degree in education from The Ohio State University.

“We met in Louisiana and were married in Louisiana,” Doc O'Cain said. “She showed Quarter Horses in Louisiana and knew nothing about Thoroughbreds at all. I did some Thoroughbred veterinary work in Louisiana and when we moved up here she got involved in Thoroughbreds.”

The O'Cains relocated to the Northeast in 1985 when Doc O'Cain went to work at Everett and Gustave Schoenborn Sr.'s Schoenborn Brothers Farm in Coxsackie, which at the time stood leading New York sires Cormorant and Talc. Doc O'Cain also worked at Gus Schoenborn, Jr.'s Contemporary Stallions, where the roster included Ends Well, Double Negative and others.

The O'Cains' association with Highcliff began in 1989 and during their time with Lizza, the couple made important contributions that were key to the success of the Flying Zee Stable racing and breeding programs. The O'Cains maintained their involvement in the New York breeding and stallion programs following Lizza's passing in 2011 and managed and marketed stallions under the Saratoga Stallions banner.

“When we were at Highcliff she basically co-managed everything with me,” Doc O'Cain said. “She did all office work, all the advertising, all the stallion promotion, the booking of stallions. She was a big part of the operation and its success.”

Suzie O'Cain served the industry in a variety of capacities, including as a member of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation's Board of Directors from 2003 until this past August. She was also the co-chairwoman of the New York Thoroughbred Breeders' Political Action Committee and chairwoman of the NYTB's Media Committee.

O'Cain was also the founder of the Find A Cure Sable to campaign horses to benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. She was the host of a show called 'Suzie's Corner' that aired on the New York City and Capital OTB networks. O'Cain interviewed prominent women in the Thoroughbred industry and was honored in 2003 at the Governor's mansion in Albany during a Women's History Month reception to recognize Pioneering Women of the Capital Region.

“Suzie was a very unique person, a very smart person,” Doc O'Cain said. “And she had the personality to go with it. She could walk into a room and take it over.”

Plans for a memorial service and/or celebration of life, most likely in August at Saratoga Race Course, are pending. Donations can be made in Suzie's name to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

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