Edited press release
Carl Lizza, one of the leading owners on the New York Racing Association circuit for many years, died early in the morning July 8 at his home in Rockaway, N.J. He was 73.
Lizza, who campaigned horses under the nom de course Flying Zee Stable, was NYRA’s leading owner at the time of his death with 31 victories in 2011, including Street Game’s triumph in the grade III Hill Prince Stakes on June 18. The leading owner in New York in 2004 and 2005, Flying Zee Stable was also among the top 10 owners from 2006-2010.
A horse owner for more than 30 years, Lizza campaigned dozens of stakes winners, notably Wayward Lass, who won the grade I Mother Goose and grade I Coaching Club American Oaks en route to an Eclipse Award as the nation’s top 3-year-old filly in 1981. He bought Wayward Lass, who was bred by Hall of Fame trainer Huratio Luro, for $30,000 at the then-Florida Breeders Sales Co. Select in 1980. The daughter of Hail the Pirates—Young Mistress went to win six stakes among her nine lifetime wins and earned $435,237. Wayward Lass was then sold for $2.35 million in foal to Noble Nashua at the 1983 Keeneland November breeding stock sale.
Lizza also campaigned multiple stakes winner Cosmonaut, who won the 2006 and 2007 Arlington Handicaps (gr. III), becoming the first horse since Round Table (1958-59) to take consecutive editions of the race, and Noble Nashua, who in 1981 won the Marlboro Cup Invitational Handicap and Swaps Stakes (both gr. I), and the Dwyer Stakes and Jerome Handicap (both gr. II). Other stakes winners included Key Contender, Screen King, Thunder Achiever, I Lost My Choo, Golden Commander and Kevin's Decision.
Lizza purchased his first horses in 1976 and had his first winner at Aqueduct in March that year with Bag of Beans.
“Carl was a wonderful owner who was very passionate about horse racing,” said NYRA president and CEO Charles Hayward. “He celebrated many terrific victories in New York, and his presence at the racetrack will be sorely missed.”
Lizza, owner of several construction companies in New York and South Carolina, purchased the 800-acre Highcliff Farm in Delancon, N.Y. in 1989 with his business partner, Joseph Bartone, and operated it as a commercial breeding establishment. Among the stallions standing at Highcliff are Congaree , Key Contender, Stonesider , Western Expression, and Cosmonaut.
“He will be missed,” said Suzie O’Cain, who with her husband, C. Lynwood O’Cain, managed Highcliff Farm for Lizza. “He was a delightful man to work for, and with. He had made all his plans for Saratoga and was looking forward to the meet.”
Lizza is survived by his wife, Vianne. Funeral arrangements are pending.