BOBBY FRANKEL: A TRIBUTE (From HRTV's "INSIDE INFORMATION" Series)
His statistical accomplishments are admirable, well-documented and staggering...here are just a few:
- Won 30 training titles in South California
- All-time leading trainer at Santa Anita with 917 wins
- Second all-time leader in Santa Anita stakes wins
- Five-time Eclipse Award winning trainer
- Hall-of-Fame trainer inductee in 1995
- Trained 11 Eclipse award winners, including ALDEBARAN, BERTRANDO, GINGER PUNCH, POSSIBLY PERFECT and GHOSTZAPPER
In all, FRANKEL's horses won 3,654 races from 17,657 starts earning $227,947,775.
While saddling six Breeders' Cup winners, FRANKEL won just one Triple Crown race - the 2003 Belmont Stakes with EMPIRE MAKER to deny FUNNY CIDE a Triple Crown.
His last major victory came Oct. 17 at Woodbine, near Toronto, when CHAMPS ELYSEES won the Canadian International, run at a mile and half on grass.
But those statistics will be just a part of the legacy left behind by the man whose passing leaves a huge emptiness in the sport he served so well for so long.
"He was very patient with horses," said Chad Brown, a trainer who worked under Frankel for more than five years. "He let the horses come to him; he didn't push them. He individualized them, training each one a little differently."
He had a natural sense of what the animal was feeling," said Jay Hovdey, a California-based columnist for the Daily Racing Form. "For all his urban angst and the New York in him that was never California-ed out, he was attuned to the natural, the rural, that horse racing is all about. That's why his horses lasted so long."
FRANKEL possessed a gift for coaxing top performances out of ornery, high-strung thoroughbreds, a gruff Hall of Fame trainer who was hard in his dealings with humans but gentle with the animals in his barn. The Brooklyn-born FRANKEL oversaw a coast-to-coast string of horses, never losing his New York accent or brusque demeanor that came off as intimidating to most who sought him around the barn.
FRANKEL revealed a softer side only among his animals and close friends. "Once you got him by himself, he was a lot of fun to be around," fellow trainer Bob Baffert said. Friend Ron Anderson added, "he was a very kindhearted and loyal person that had people working for him for 20, 30 years, which is almost unheard of around the racetrack. He'd pay you what you earned and then some...always more than what you expected."
"It came easy to him. He was a very gifted horseman," Baffert said. "He left a huge stamp on racing. He'll always be remembered."
In a sport populated by tight-lipped trainers and owners, FRANKEL stood out for his pungent, off-the-cuff comments and visible emotions; he often fought back tears when a favorite horse turned in a great performance or headed off to retirement.
FRANKEL enjoyed his greatest success this decade, winning four consecutive Eclipse Awards (2000-03) as the nation's leading trainer and five overall. His biggest client since the 1990's was Khalid Abdullah-owned Juddmonte Farms.
Besides EMPIRE MAKER, other winning horses FRANKEL trained for Juddmonte included the blue hen mare TOUSSAUD, APTITUDE, INTERCONTINENTAL, SIGHTSEEK, FIRST DEFENCE and VENTURA.
"He was brilliant," Juddmonte manager Garrett O'Rourke said from Lexington, Ky. "It's the end of an era, isn't it?"
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|Category:||U.S. & Canadian Flat Racing|