02/26/2002 1:00AM

Top jumper Lonesome Glory dies


Lonesome Glory, the only American steeplechase horse to win five Eclipse Awards, was euthanized Monday after suffering a broken leg at trainer Bruce Miller's farm in Pennsylvania. He was 14.

Lonesome Glory broke a bone in his left hind leg Sunday night in his paddock. Efforts to repair the fracture failed.

"Sunday night, he got cast in the paddock he's been in for 10 years," said Miller, who trained Lonesome Glory since he was 2. "When we saw him Monday morning, he was standing on three legs. Several vets looked at him, but there wasn't anything we could do and he was put down in the afternoon. It's a sad time at the farm right now."

Miller's daughter, Blythe, was Lonesome Glory's regular rider during his storied racing career, which concluded in the fall of 1999 when he was 11 years old.

Lonesome Glory, owned by Kay Jeffords, set new standards for a steeplechaser in this country. He is the only American jumper to earn more than $1 million. He won 19 jump races from 35 starts and retired with earnings of $1,352,868. His major victories came in this country's most important jump races, including three Colonial Cups, two Carolina Cups, and the 1993 Breeders' Cup Steeplechase.

Lonesome Glory, a Kentucky-bred gelded son of Transworld, also won two jump races in England.

"To me the greatest thing he did was win the two races in England - one over hurdles and one over steeplechase fences," Miller said. "But I think his best race here was the 1993 Breeders' Cup. There were two four-horse entries in the race, and we were the ninth horse. He beat Highland Bud, who was going for his third Breeders' Cup win."

Among steeplechase horses, Lonesome Glory's five Eclipse Awards surpassed Flatterer's four championships in the 1980's. Lonesome Glory won the title in 1992, 1993, 1995, 1997, and, at age 11, in 1999.

"[Lonesome Glory] proved he was the best by what he did over time," Miller said. "The horses he beat were pretty special - not many horses last like he did at that level. He was a great horse who did a lot for our whole family."