11/18/2009 2:48PM

Bobby's Girls


Much was said of the man at the funeral service for Bobby Frankel on Tuesday afternoon, at L.A.'s Hillside Memorial Park, hard by the 405 Freeway. At one end, Juddmonte Farm's Garrett O'Rourke described Frankel as "crusty" while at the other, Julio Canani said Bobby had "a heart from a puppy." No one stood to disagree with either sentiment. The 400 or so in attendance represented the thousands who were there in spirit, including the many who stepped up with fine internet tributes. One of the best was posted by former trainer and longtime Frankel disciple Jude Feld on his Racehorse Report site (http://www.racehorsereport.com/). It's worth a read.

If Frankel had a say, though, he would complain that there was not nearly enough mention of the horses who helped turn the kid from Brooklyn into a household name, as long as that household had a passion for good Thoroughbreds. It speaks to the great breadth and depth of his record that there are, quite literally, too many memorable Frankel stakes stars to enumerate. But of all Frankel's long list of remarkable runners, none of them pleased him more than his fillies. He could throw ferocious colts at the opposition year after year--Life Cycle, Mehmet, Al Mamoon, Marquetry, Empire Maker, Medaglia d'Oro, Ghostzapper and his beloved Exbourne, to cite only a few--but it was with his fillies that Frankel connected on a very personal level, and this he did not try to hide.

In arbitrary fashion and no particular order, I have chosen what I consider Frankel's top 10 fillies from a training career that spanned 43 years. Additions to the list are both expected welcomed. Here goes:

FluteAndBobbyFrankel2001WebBL Intercontinental upset Ouija Board in a thriller of a Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf. Megahertz was a pint-sized terror on the California grass. Keeper Hill gave Frankel his first classic in the 1998 Kentucky Oaks, while Possibly Perfect was his first filly champion, in 1995. Somehow, Frankel and his crew tamed the tempestuous Toussaud to win several big ones, which also got them ready to handle her equally headstrong daughter, Honest Lady. Bobby won just about any race he wanted to in New York with Sightseek and champion Ginger Punch. And even though Breeders' Cup winner Ventura was his darling diva at the end, Frankel's all-time heartthrob was Flute, and not just because she won the Kentucky Oaks and the Alabama. That's Flute with Bobby after the 'Bama, eight years ago.