01/21/2002 1:00AM

Eclipse nominee Pompeyo, 8, dead


Pompeyo, a finalist for the Eclipse Award as champion steeplechaser of 2001, was euthanized Saturday because of complications from an injury suffered in September.

An 8-year-old Chilean-bred gelding trained by Sanna Neilson for George Strawbridge, Pompeyo was 2 for 2 last year, winning the Woodkirk Cup at Camden and the Royal Chase at Keeneland. In 2000, he was the National Steeplechase Association's novice champion.

Pompeyo suffered a deep cut and a fracture to his left fore elbow when kicked by another horse on Sept. 15 while preparing for the Breeders' Cup Steeplechase. Surgery stabilized his condition but an infection forced veterinarians to euthanize him.

The winner of the Chilean Derby in 1998, Pompeyo won seven of 11 starts over jumps for earnings of $353,280.