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Hall of Famer Bobby Frankel Dies at 68

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  • Hall of Famer Bobby Frankel Dies at 68

    From The Blood Horse:
    Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, who had been battling leukemia for most of the year, died peacefully at his home in Pacific Palisades, Calif., early Monday morning Nov. 16,he was 68.

    Very sad...great horseman and trainer. My sympathies to his family and friends.

  • #2
    'Bye Bobby

    Hi All,
    So, so sad. I know this was coming but it still hurts. Condolences to all who knew him and kept him going.

    Hallie I. McEvoy
    Racing Dreams, LLC


    • #3
      It's a shame to read this even though as Hallie said the formal news wasn't good as of late. He was one heck of a trainer and he'll be missed for that. Rest in Peace.


      • Original Poster

        He will really be missed. I hope he was able to enjoy Medaglia d’Oro's success as a sire this year....


        • #5
          Wow, he really was a true horseman, right up until the end. My condolences to his family and friends.
          "smile a lot can let us ride happy,it is good thing"

          My CANTER blog.


          • #6
            There are no words. . .I didn't even know he was ill, though he hasn't been in the spotlight much this year.

            Never one to pull any punches or mince words, he was nonetheless a stand-up horseman.



            • #7
              Originally posted by Mara View Post
              There are no words. . .I didn't even know he was ill, though he hasn't been in the spotlight much this year.

              This. I'm gobsmacked. Not everyone's cup of tea, certainly, but a true horseman, may he RIP.
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              • #8
                Originally posted by Drvmb1ggl3
                Does anyone know the details of how he got into training? From what I understand he was a Jewish kid from NY city and didn't come from a horsey background.
                Jewish Journal April 2003 - "Trainer Saddles Up to Run for the Roses"

                Bobby Frankel grew up in New York, a streetwise teenager first attracted to area harness and thoroughbred tracks as a gambler. He applied those handicapping skills and a sharp eye for horses into a training career that has catapulted him to the top of his profession.

                After graduation from Far Rockaway High School, Frankel attended C.W. Post College for one day. The only post on his mind was post time for the first race at Belmont or Aqueduct. Not surprisingly, one of his early role models was Buddy Jacobson, a winning but irreverent trainer who set the New York establishment on its head.

                An equine Einstein, Frankel learned quickly, and by the time he settled in California, had already acquired the nickname, "King of the Claimers," for his ability to claim horses out of cheaper races and improve them dramatically. Admirers and rivals alike shook their heads in awe at Frankel's unmatched talents in measuring the value of a horse, recognizing what distance would best suit him and knowing how easy or hard to train him to maximize his potential.
                As for his former training mentor:

                Howard "Buddy" Jacobson - while claiming to be innocent of murder - died in Attica State Prison May 1989.


                • #9
                  A larger article on him from ESPN/DRF's Jay Privman 11-16-09

                  Frankel was known as a bit of a grouch, one who complained long and loud when he saw something wrong. He could be playful and witty one moment, a pit bull the next. But his outspokenness was born of a sincere passion for the game, and his gruff exterior masked a man who would get choked up when misfortune befell one of his horses or his dogs.

                  In 2007, Frankel missed the Breeders' Cup at Monmouth Park because his Australian shepherd dog Happy was near death. He would get emotional talking about the horses to whom he grew close, such as Exbourne or the filly Sightseek. He once complained about fans of the Detroit Red Wings throwing octopuses onto the ice.

                  "I mean, they're living things," he said.


                  • #10
                    Eddie Neloy was also a mentor, I believe.


                    • #11
                      how terribly sad. what a trainer; what a horseman. there really are no words. He was Bobby and i really don't think anyone compares to such a horseman of class.

                      How kind of him to ask for donations to old friends and CANTER. We really need more trainers like him in this industry. he really truly cared about his horses; he was a blessing.

                      He will be greatly missed.


                      • #12
                        Who could forget Bobby Frankel after Sightseek's final race?

                        A short while earlier, he had stunned a small gathering of reporters when he began wiping away tears and becoming almost too choked up to speak. After so many winner's circle appearances and encounters with the media over the past several years, the normally reserved Frankel had been exposed. His barricade had come crumbling down right before everyone's eyes. "I can't help it; I worry about her," Frankel said. "She's going home safe. That's the main thing."
                        (The Blood-Horse "Why there will be no Breeders Cup for Sightseek")


                        • #13
                          I guess we have all chosen to forget the horses of his who tested positive for morphine and bute and the fact that he would stand over his farriers making sure they trimmed them way down and cut the bruises away (cause thats how I like them done) so that the horses would walk away like they were on crushed glass(saw with my own eyes) or that he bragged once of having 36 horses in his barn and could only count one of them as being sound and that his theory was "that most horses are unsound anyways"(heard with my own ears)...ummm sorry people definately not a great horsemen in my eyes [edit]. Guess you have to be a groom,hotwalker or rider to know the real stories.
                          Last edited by Moderator 1; Nov. 17, 2009, 02:26 PM. Reason: personal insults


                          • #14
                            I always thought he was a great trainer and good to his horses.
                            And it is wonderful he wants contributions to help ottbs.

                            He grew up with a guy I knew who moved to Atlanta, both worked at the tracks in NY when they were young.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Kaleigh007 View Post
                              I guess we have all chosen to forget the horses of his who tested positive for morphine and bute and the fact that he would stand over his farriers making sure they trimmed them way down and cut the bruises away (cause thats how I like them done) so that the horses would walk away like they were on crushed glass(saw with my own eyes) or that he bragged once of having 36 horses in his barn and could only count one of them as being sound and that his theory was "that most horses are unsound anyways"(heard with my own ears)...ummm sorry people definately not a great horsemen in my eyes [edit].
                              oops! I only knew his public persona.
                              Last edited by Moderator 1; Nov. 17, 2009, 02:26 PM.


                              • #16
                                Curious bits to his record:

                                In 2003, Frankel won 25 Grade or Group One races, a single-season world record that still stands.

                                His first training title for a meet came at Saratoga in 1970 and while he'd win 30 different such titles oddly that one back in 1970 was the only Spa meet title he ever won.

                                Inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 1995.


                                • #17
                                  Hard to believe the same man who cut hooves down like that would cry over a dog's death. Guess we never really know a person, do we?
                                  Little Star Chihuahua Rescue
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                                  • #18
                                    If I'm not mistaken, the CHRB dismissed the charges against Frankel because the levels in the horses were so minutely low that it couldn't possibly help the horse. Maybe someone can verify.

                                    I did not know Frankel and perhaps, Kayleigh, you knew him at a point in time where he was the way you said, but people can change, can't they?


                                    • #19
                                      Dick, I come from the school of thought that a leopard never changes it's spots. Bobby was the same person I knew frm the 80's and there are plenty out there just like him...don't even get me going on that


                                      • #20

                                        Kaleigh, you stated your opinion, and now I'm stating mine.

                                        Although I did not know the man personally, I do know some people who did over the years and told me a lot of stories about him.

                                        And you need to be put in your place here.

                                        He did not have the farriers quick the horses. No horseman wants this practice as it makes the horse lame. When horses are first shod, especially with TBs who sometimes have very sensitive feet and soles, they are often tender walking away from the farrier. Some more so than others. Most horses are 'unsound'. That means that most of them do have a problem or two that need careful managing. Also, a lot of times, vets will cut a hoof down to the bruise and drain the area. I'm also not sure how many positives he has come up with, but they weren't with Ginger Punch, Ghostzapper, and all the other GI winners that he has trained over the years. Where was the bute with them?

                                        No matter what you may think of him, you can't be lucky enough to accomplish what he did with horses in his lifetime without also being darn good at it.

                                        From the stories that I heard, he was arrogant and sometimes didn't treat his staff the best, but everyone has good and bad parts to them. And he loved his animals. I remember when he cried about his filly that spooked, flipped over the rail, and had to be euthanized. That wasn't fake.

                                        You bashing the man here after he just lost his battle with a devastating disease speaks a lot more about you than it does him. It wasn't enough for you that he died in pain from an awful disease. Please, for the respect of others, don't continue to be tactless and downright cruel. Let the man rest in peace. I know I'll remember him for being a great trainer no matter the other things that I know about him. You certainly can't change my opinion of him, and I'm sure you won't change anyone else's on here either.
                                        Last edited by Moderator 1; Nov. 17, 2009, 02:19 PM. Reason: reference to deleted post