10/05/2012 5:02PM

Maurice Miller III, well-known pinhooker, dies at 53

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LEXINGTON, Ky. – Maurice W. Miller III, a well-known yearling-to-juvenile reseller who also bred and owned Thoroughbreds, died Thursday in Lexington, the Fayette County coroner’s office has confirmed.

Miller was 53.

The coroner’s office has not yet released a cause of death, saying only that Miller died at a residence in Lexington.

Miller was regarded by many as a talented trainer, and he hit some big home runs at the select 2-year-old sales, often in partnerships that included Tom Van Meter. Among Miller’s most notable pinhook returns was Fusaichi Donight, a colt he and Van Meter bought for $200,000 and resold to Fusao Sekiguchi for $850,000 in 2003. Miller and partners often played a high-stakes pinhooking game, fearlessly pinhooking $400,000 and $500,000 yearling purchases to select juvenile sales. One notable example was Rondo, a Grand Slam colt Miller bought for $450,000, then resold to Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum for $2.9 million at Fasig-Tipton’s 2005 Calder sale.

Miller also endured harder times. He was injured on April 25, 1997, as a passenger in the one-car wreck in Lexington that killed his friend, Wimbledon Farm general manager and owner-breeder Hilary J. Boone III. And in 2010, he declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Miller consigned horses to this year’s Fasig-Tipton Florida select 2-year-old auction, where he sold Global Express to My MeadowView Farm for $100,000.