01/08/2003 1:00AM

Vance Longden, trainer, dead

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ARCADIA, Calif. - Vance Longden, a son of Hall of Fame jockey John Longden and a successful trainer in his own right, died on Monday in Oceanside, Calif., of cancer. He was 72.

Longden had his greatest training success more than a quarter-century ago. He won the Santa Anita Handicap in 1972 with the speedy Triple Bend. He also won major stakes in concert with his father. Four-And-Twenty, trained by Vance, won the 1961 Santa Anita Derby with his father in the saddle. They also teamed to win the 1955 San Juan Capistrano Handicap with St. Vincent.

Longden retired from training several years ago. He is the oldest of three children of John Longden. John Longden, who is in poor health, survives his son, as do a half-brother, Eric, and a half-sister, Andrea. Vance Longden, who was married twice and was divorced from both, has three children.

Longden's niece, Trudy Atherton, said Wednesday that Longden would be cremated, and that the family was hopeful his ashes could be scattered at Del Mar, where Longden maintained a box. A memorial service was expected to be held on Sunday, but specifics were not expected to be announced until Thursday.