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.

Sandy Snider More than 1 year ago
Jay wrote: "One of the best [internet tributes] 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." Worth a read, indeed. Thank you for posting the link to this story. I loved it.
Jeff Tatus More than 1 year ago
As a handicapper, I will miss Robert Frankel more than any other trainer. He (his horses) were always a solid "key" in Tri's and Super's and seldom were they not ready to perform at top levels. I have "Singled" more Frankel horses in Pick 4's and 6's than any other trainer. I still thank him for January 3, 2009 Santa Anita's Pick 6 (especially races 7 & 8, a Frankel Double). Our sport has truly missed his presence and influence for the past year and this is one time that God didn't answer my prayers the way I wanted them answered. As a human, he will be missed more than we can imagine. I will never forget his statement about "... We burn 100 Million in horse flesh... each year... chasing after the Kentucky Derby..." Only someone that truly cares for horses (and dogs) could or would make a statement like that about his profession. At least we know he's going straight to Heaven.
Anne Castle More than 1 year ago
Chad Brown, one of his former assistants and now a trainer on his own, had some very interesting comments to make dealing with his time working for Bobby Frankel on our Capital OTB network here in NY. One was about Frankel changing his mind constantly when deciding where a horse would run. One time, one of his horses was on his way to a race via plane, Bobby changed his mind and the horse had to exit the plane on the runway. A totally different story was about a cat that was killed by some truck on the backside and he was upset how fast they drove without carrying about the cats. A soon time after the cat was killed, another cat went over to the dead cat and Frankel said,"see that, he is checking on his dead buddy, now he has lost his friend." He was so upset he left the track for the day, Chad said he had Peace Rules and Medaglia d'Oro ready to work but was too upset to stay. Chad had a many intersting stories to tell that showed Bobby Frankel was a man of many hats.
Pete W More than 1 year ago
If trainers cared about their horses 1/2 of what Bobby did the sport would be better off.
Nick G More than 1 year ago
I'd like to add Starine, I think he owned and trained her, she won the BC Filly and Mare Turf. Tates Creek, Ryafan, Wandesta, I guess the list keeps growing once you start to think about it.
PF Gorman More than 1 year ago
The late Jim Murray included a piece he'd done on Bobby in one of his sports anthologies. Years ago now, but it was nicely done. I can't recall the particulars, perhaps some of your readers would know. I'm sure there would be many who would like to re-read it. It's another appreciation of Bobby as a gifted trainer.
nick More than 1 year ago
"Who are you afraid of?"......"Frankel"s horse"....Don't know how many times I said that..When I talk about great horses I mention Exbourne. An uncrowned champion, for a great trainer..
Seeking the Gold More than 1 year ago
I believe there was a filly named YOU that frankel trained. I think she won a gutsy race at saratoga if i remember.
David Dinerman More than 1 year ago
World needs more Bobby Frankel's. Work hard, put your heart into what you do,speak with honesty and don't take any S#$t from anyone. And BTW, my "fav" was Tinner's Way, grandson of Secretariat.
dan c More than 1 year ago
Bobby Frankel could flat trian horses, especially the high class filly!!!!! RIP!!