Updated on 09/16/2011 7:43AM

Katko, top French jumper, dead

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Katko, one of the greatest jumpers in the history of French racing, and probably the most popular, died Thursday morning in Chantilly at the age of 19.

A gelded son of Carmarthen trained by Bernard Secly for the Comte de Montesson, Katko won France's championship chase race, the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris at Auteuil Racecourse, three times in succession, from 1988 through 1990, each time braving 23 fences over a distance of 3 5/8 miles.

In a seven-year career that began in 1986, Katko won 20 races over hurdles and steeplechase fences. When he retired in 1992 his lifetime earnings of $1,283,314 were a world record for jumpers that held until his countrymate Al Capone II surpassed it in 1998.