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TGSF is sad to share the news that legendary steeplechase trainer Bruce Miller has passed away. In his honor, we are re-releasing this piece about Miller's most famous horse, Lonesome Glory - originally published by TGSF in September 2021.

We will share any additional details we hear of services for Bruce Miller in the coming days. Look for more, as well, from the National Steeplechase Association.

Douglas Lees photo of Bruce Miller in 2007 after winning his third consecutive Noel Laing Stakes at the Montpelier Hunt Races with Mon Villez.
In a family way...
Capturing the magic of the Lonesome Glory years distilled generations of three dynasties into one powerful steeplechase run
Thursday at Belmont Park a star-studded field meets the flag for the $150,000 grade 1 Lonesome Glory stakes, a hurdle handicap as a crystal kickoff on opening day for the fall meet at New York’s premiere track. Undefeated Snap Decision meets distaff sensation The Mean Queen and a half-dozen others gunning for the 2 1/2-mile classic. The Lonesome Glory is second on the card – post time 2:38 p.m. The William Entenmann novice hurdle is the first, post time 2 p.m.

Lonesome Glory was the bold-jumping, blaze-faced steeplechase sensation that bookended the 1990s. But many in the game today never knew him – after all, he last raced in 1999 (hot favorite at 1-2 winning The Royal Chase at Keeneland that April). They know the horse’s regular jockey Blythe Miller (Davies, today) as a trainer’s wife, not as the rider so dialed in to her horse to form a magical, almost mystical sympatico partnership. Trainer Bruce Miller last ran a horse a half-dozen years ago; owner Kay Jeffords died in 2003, and breeder Walter Jeffords Jr. - who counted homebred generations sometimes in double-digits - was gone in 1990.

Those that saw the triple family dynamic at play, though, can never forget. They can’t erase the memory of deep stretch in the 1997 Colonial Cup, 200 yards of epic battle between three legendary veteran jumpers – Lonesome Glory, Rowdy Irishman and Master McGrath sparring to the wire with barely two noses separating them at the line. They remember the 1993 Breeders Cup steeplechase at Belmont – when they let the jumpers play on racing’s marquis day, where Lonesome Glory handed a nearly-10 length drubbing to Eclipse champion Highland Bud.

Add in a pair of winning efforts in England – over hurdles at the December, 1992 meet at Cheltenham and over the stiff Sandown Park ‘chase fences three years later, and an Italian feast at a Fair Hill restaurant paid for by Lonesome Glory’s 12-1 stunner in his first hurdle start in 1991, and you’ve got quite a story to tell.  
By Betsy Burke Parker, originally published September 15, 2021
Lonesome Glory

🏇 Transworld – Stronghold
🏇 1988-2003
🏇 52 starts, 30 wins (counting point-to-points, NSA and English starts)
🏇 Earnings: $1.4 million (including bonus money)
🏇 Breeder: Walter Jeffords Jr.
🏇 Owner: Kay Jeffords
🏇 Trainer: Bruce Miller
🏇 (Primary) Rider: Blythe Miller 
🏇 Longtime groom: Trish Daniels

Douglas Lees photo
Lonesome Glory (Tom Haynes/NSA Archives photo) was born in Kentucky Feb. 18, 1988, one of the last crops foaled before breeder Walter Jeffords Jr. died in 1990.

Lonesome Glory is the only American jump horse to win five Eclipse Awards (1992, 1993, 1995, 1997 and 1999) and the first American ’chaser to earn more than $1 million.

He won all of the nation’s top hurdle stakes including the Breeders' Cup Steeplechase (when that was a thing), the Colonial Cup (three times) and the Carolina Cup (twice). Lonesome Glory also won jump races in England, in 1992 and 1995.

He won his only hurdle start at 3, winning four-of-six at 4 and claiming his first Eclipse - unusually, as a novice - that year with the unprecedented win at Cheltenham that December.

His second championship was clinched with victory in the Breeders' Cup Steeplechase at age 5 in 1993.
Lonesome Glory and Blythe Miller cruised home 8 1/2 lengths clear in the $250,000 Breeders' Cup stakes, which undoubtedly assured the five-year-old of a second Eclipse Award.
©Skip Dickstein/NSA Archives
Fast fact - Lonesome Glory was steeplechase champion in 1992, 1993, 1995, 1997 and 1999. (He won three hurdle stakes in 1994 but was edged in Eclipse voting by John Griggs’ Warm Spell – who also won three races.)
In 1994, he won the first of his three Colonial Cups but lost the championship vote to Warm Spell.

Lonesome Glory came back in 1995 to win three grade 1s and a grade 2 plus winning a handicap ‘chase at Sandown Park to seal his third Eclipse.

The champ faltered in 1996, losing his only two American starts after beginning the year in England, but he returned to form in 1997, joining Flatterer as a four-time champion after becoming the only horse to sweep the grade I Carolina and Colonial Cups. The spring-fall double earned Lonesome Glory a $250,000 bonus.
From the 1997 "American Steeplechasing" about the Colonial Cup: Lonesome Glory (left) and Master McGrath jumped the last together to start a wild stretch battle with Rowdy Irishman, who rallied late. The trio finished a half-length apart, with Kay Jeffords' Lonesome Glory getting the Eclipse Award-clinching victory. Rowdy Irishman finished second, with Master McGrath third. ©Tom Haynes/NSA Archives
Pointed for England again in 1998, Lonesome Glory missed a try at the Cheltenham Gold Cup with a pulled muscle but returned to action to win the $100,000 Hard Scuffle Stakes at Churchill Downs. At 11, Lonesome Glory won another Carolina Cup in March and the Royal Chase in April.

“He proved he was the best by what he did over time,” Bruce Miller told the Blood Horse. “The horses he beat were pretty special, (and) not many horses last like he did at that level. He was a great horse who did a lot for our whole family."

Lonesome Glory topped the NSA theoretical handicap three times in the 1990s, including a record 170-pound handicap rating after the 1995 season.
His five championships overtook Flatterer – four, and tie him with flat horse Kelso's run of five Horse of the Year titles. (Peb painting depicting Lonesome Glory's five Eclipse Awards, gracing the cover of the 1999 "American Steeplechasing")

The Eclipse Awards were created in 1971, so only four other horses have won five or more Eclipse awards: Forego, John Henry, Affirmed and Secretariat.

Lonesome Glory was euthanized after breaking a leg in an overnight pasture accident in 2003. He was buried at the National Steeplechase Museum in Camden, South Carolina.
He’s laid to rest under a life-size sculpture. Lonesome Glory was inducted into racing’s Hall of Fame in 2005.
Fast fact - Curiously, every professional jockey that rode the horse won a rider title – Craig Thornton 1992 and ‘98, Blythe Miller 1994 and ‘95, Chuck Lawrence 1993 and Chip Miller 1996. Amateurs Eddie Graham and the late Trish Daniels also rode Lonesome Glory in races.
Sire: Transworld was born at Elmendorf Farm in Lexington, Kentucky. Like Lonesome Glory a copper chestnut with full chrome, Transworld was by champion sire Prince John out of the English-bred mare, Hornpipe. Prince John fathered champions Speak John, Stage Door Johnny, Typecast, Silent Screen and Deceit. Transworld's full brother Protagonist, was champion 2-year-old colt of 1973.

He sold as a yearling for $375,000 and was sent to race in Europe, trained by Vincent O'Brien for owner Simon Fraser.

He raced in England and Ireland at 3, winning the group 1 Irish St. Leger but returned to the U.S. at 4 with expectations of running again. Instead, Transworld retired to stud, siring many winners and stakes winners. His best progeny were sons Lonesome Glory and Venezuelan champion Winton.

Transworld died in his sleep at age 27 at a farm in Colorado.
Dam: Stronghold, also a chestnut, was a fifth-generation Jeffords-bred, making Lonesome Glory a sixth generation of Jeffords bloodlines.

Stronghold was by Green Dancer out of the French-bred mare Serges de Nimes. She was unraced, but became a strong producer. Of 10 named foals, seven were winners and three were stakes winners. In addition to five-time champion Lonesome Glory, Stronghold mothered Strawberry Angel – by Alydar son Red Attack, a stakes winner and graded stakes-placed over hurdles for owner Kay Jeffords. (Strawberry Angel, above, with Blythe Miller, was the 1995 NSA Novice Champion. ©Deirdre Davie/NSA Archives)
Lightning didn’t strike twice for the Transworld-Stronghold magic in her 1994 foal, Skillogalee, but the graded stakes performer on the turf/hurdle winner in turn produced hurdle winners Dynaskill and Lonesome Nun and turf winner/hurdle-placed Eat Cake.
What they say (sort of a mutual admiration society)
Bruce Miller on breeder Walter Jeffords Jr. and owner Kay Jeffords
Mr. and Mrs. Jeffords lived in New York City, but they had a wonderful farm down in Andrews Bridge country. I never really met him because he died (in 1990) before Lonesome Glory came to me for training.

They were the most wonderful couple I ever met, and they had some very good horses.
(When Walter Jeffords died), Bob Crompton introduced me to Mrs. Jeffords because they had a few homebreds left from his breeding stock. He’d told me “you gotta go see this 2-year-old” he thought looked like a pretty nice horse.

I’m glad I went to look."
Kay Jeffords (right) with Peggy Steinman in the paddock at Morven Park in the 1990's.
©Douglas Lees
Bruce Miller on Lonesome Glory
This wasn’t an easy horse (at first) – Blythe would barely even ride him much at home. He had a really good buck in him, and would spook.
I think it’s that spunk that made him so good.

He had just wonderful conformation, good size, great bone. I don’t think he was ever lame.
Lonesome and Blythe were a perfect pair. He learned to trust her, and she learned to trust him – it was a great combination, and I think that was the key to their success.
He always showed us he was going to be a good horse. He was a brilliant jumper from the get-go. It’s hard to say if he was “the best horse, ever,” but Lonesome ran for a long time, and had a really great record and ran against some very good horses."
Lonesome Glory with Blythe Miller in a flat race at Great Meadow.
©Douglas Lees
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Bruce Miller was joint-master at Pennsylvania’s Cheshire Foxhounds 2003-2013.

Bruce’s father Fulmor was longtime huntsman at Huntingdon Valley Hunt north of Philadelphia.

Bruce, now 87, trained from his beloved Fox Ferret Farm near Unionville most of his six-decade career – mid-1960s to 2017.

Bruce Miller trained more than 3,700 starters with more than 560 winners of more than $10.14 million on the flat and over fences.

He was the first American to train an American horse in America to win a race in England. Lonesome Glory won a novice hurdle race at Cheltenham in 1992, returning for a win over stiff ‘chase fences in 1995 at Sandown Park.

Douglas Lees photo, above, of Bruce and daughter Blythe at the 2019 Grand National Steeplechase Races.
Blythe Miller on Lonesome Glory
He was just so special, like driving a fancy car. He had tactical speed so you could place him anywhere in his races.

And he never won by more than he had to, he did just as much as he had to do.

He was so easy to ride in a race – he wasn’t strong so you could put him anywhere. Like if you’re following Circuit Bar whipping around the track at Saratoga, (I could) hang 15 lengths back and just wait it out.

I think jumping back then was much more a part of the game (before the major tracks “took out” the last jump in the homestretch), so it really did matter how a horse jumped.
From the 1992 "American Steeplechasing": Owner Kay Jeffords, trainer Bruce Miller, and jockey Blythe Miller were joined in the winner's circle by Cheltenham Racecourse Director Edward Gillespie and Sport of Kings Challenge creator George Sloan, following Lonesome Glory's dramatic English victory. ©NSA Archives
It really showed up in his first race in England, over hurdles at Cheltenham. He flew the last three coming down the hill and into the stretch. We were making up ground so it took that kind of jumping to win that day.

I could always count on him to give me the long one if I asked.

Lonesome was the best horse I ever met, and I rode a lot of good horses. He had a fifth gear, tactical and handy."
Blythe Miller on one of the keys to Lonesome Glory’s success
I have to credit Trish Daniels as much as anybody. She worked with him the whole time (and actually won two-of-two bumpers on the horse – 1992 at Iroquois and 1997 at the Marlborough point-to-point.)

Trish (who died in 1998) was a huge part of it. She totally doted on him, and she was the most tolerant of his antics. Like, he wasn’t a bad shipper, but he’d fret on long trips, so Trish would ride with him in the trailer – she’d sleep in the back of the van with him all the way to Nashville (12-plus hours from Fox Ferret Farm near Unionville.)

I always said he wasn’t like an angel to ride in the morning, but when the flag dropped, he was.

But he was tough to ride at home. He’d spook and drop you. He didn’t get me off in the mornings because I wouldn’t get on him! Trish didn’t seem to mind it so much when he did that."
From the 1998 "American Steeplechasing": Lonesome Glory's Hard Scuffle victory came two months after the death of longtime companion and Bruce Miller assistant Trish Daniels in an accident. Daniels led Lonesome Glory to numerous victories, including here before a Great Meadow flat race in March.
©Douglas Lees/NSA Archives
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Lonesome Glory ran 52 times including point-to-points, NSA races and his three starts in England. He failed to finish just one time – it’s listed as “F” for fall in the 1994 Iroquois, but Blythe Miller says it was a slip on greasy ground coming to the last on the long back straight rather than a misjudgment on the horse’s part.
Sally Jeffords on Bruce Miller
Bruce is one of the best horsemen out there. All our horses were homebred, and I don’t believe we had a single horse not make it to the track. That’s the kind of all-around good horseman he is.

I’m trying to think of those years with Lonesome Glory. I remember it didn’t seem like we knew what was getting ready to happen.

His first race (over hurdles) was at Fair Hill (the maiden at the October meet. Craig Thornton was aboard. Blythe Miller had ridden the horse three times on the turf earlier that year for racing education – fifth, fourth and third.)

You can bet at Fair Hill, so of course the whole family’s there and of course we bet on him (Lonesome Glory was roundly dismissed at 12-1 in the 10-horse field. Welter Weight, who went on to a championship timber career and winning the 1999 Maryland Hunt Cup, was odds-on favorite at 1-2 that day.)

We couldn’t believe it when he went from (back of the pack) to winning by 2 lengths.
We went out to dinner at the nice Italian place in Fair Hill that night on our winnings. It was great.

He was such a smart horse, so talented, could run in every (track) condition. He was a true all-around athlete."
Sally Jeffords with Chip Miller (Bruce's son) in August 2006.
Family Tree
Bruce Miller’s ‘chase beginnings:

His first race ride was in 1966, his first winner, Wyoming-bred Jimmy Whit over timber at the Andrews Bridge point-to-point in 1970.

The best horse Bruce Miller says he raced over fences was John Irving’s Eastmac. The pair fell in their debut over the Maryland Hunt Cup course in 1972 but returned second in 1973 (Douglas Lees photo, above. Miller and Eastmac are in the middle, over Fence 3). Amateur Russ Jones partnered Eastmac in 1973 – second, again, and Miller rode him in 1975 – third.
He saddled his first runner in 1969, his last in 2017.

Miller’s distinctive silks – tartan plaid body, white sleeves, were made up for him by his mother. It hails back to the Miller family’s Scottish ancestry, he says. (Douglas Lees photo of Blythe sporting the tartan plaid)
The Jeffords racing dynasty
🏇 Walter Morrison Jeffords Sr. (1883-1960) was an investment banker and thoroughbred horseman. In partnership with his wife's uncle, Sam Riddle, Jeffords purchased and operated Faraway Farm in Lexington, Kentucky where they stood champion Man o' War at stud.

Jeffords was named an Exemplar of Racing by the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.
Thoroughbred owners/breeders John Hay "Jock" Whitney (left) and Walter Morrison Jeffords, Sr. (right) at the Whitney Handicap Trophy Presentation at Saratoga on August 10, 1929.

Jeffords owned Bateau, the winning horse of the 1929 Whitney Handicap. Bateau was ridden by Eddie Ambrose and trained by Scott Harlan.

Photo courtesy of the Keeneland Library
🏇 Walter Jeffords Jr. (1914-1990) was president, general manager and principal executive of the Brooklyn Borough Gas Company.

Like his father, Jeffords Jr. was an avid foxhunter. When the Upland Hunt in Chester County was disbanded in 1910, Sam Riddle started his own pack – Penn-Marydel black and tans, hunting Upland’s former territory.

But Riddle’s main interest was racing (he was responsible for the careers of Man O’War and War Admiral, to name two), so in 1917 eventually turned the pack over to Walter Jeffords Sr. Now known as Mr. Jeffords Hounds, the kennels were on Jeffords' farm in Delaware County, Pennsylvania.

In 1927, the kennels were moved to the Andrews Bridge area of Lancaster County, but the mastership remained in the Jeffords family for decades to come, with Walter Jeffords Jr. succeeding his father as master in 1954.

After Jeffords death, his wife Kay and son John continued the tradition with the hunt. When John Jeffords relocated to Wyoming, he took the family name of the hunt and enough hounds to start his own pack.

The Pennsylvania Jeffords pack was renamed the Andrews Bridge Foxhounds.

Walter Jeffords Jr. was a member of the Jockey Club, vice president of the National Museum of Racing in Saratoga and a member of the Westminster Kennel Club in Manhattan.

He graduated from Yale, serving as a major with army field artillery in World War II.
Portrait of Walter Jeffords, Jr. atop a white horse and holding its reins at the Rose Tree Hunt Club in Media, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Edwin Levick/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Fun fact - Walter Jeffords Jr. owned the first thoroughbred foal sired by 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat. The mother, fifth-generation Jeffords-bred My Card, won the Selima Stakes in 1964 and was multiple stakes-placed at 2 and 3.

Miss Secretariat was foaled on Jan. 1, 1975, unplaced in five starts at 2 and 3. She was dam of several winners including multiple stakes-placed Uno Roberto.
🏇 Kay Jeffords (1923-2003) was a New York City native. In addition to her involvement in horse racing, Kay Jeffords was a respected dog breeder, with dozens of champion Boston Terriers and Pekinese on the show circuit.
🏇 Sally Jeffords served two terms on the National Steeplechase Association Board of Directors, elected chair in 2013. In 2010, she was vice president of the National Steeplechase Foundation. Tod Marks photo
Lonesome Glory in action at Keeneland. Ellen Humes photo. Read more about his 1995 Iroquois Steeplechase win at This is Horse Racing.
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