11/20/2009 12:00AM

Final Frankel starter wins

Email
Benoit & Associates
Life By R R, the final starter credited to the late Bobby Frankel, wins the fifth race at Hollywood on Wednesday.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Bobby Frankel went out a winner.

Entries for Wednesday's races at Hollywood Park were taken before Frankel died early Monday morning, so the Wednesday program listed Life By R R, who ran in the fifth race, as being trained by Frankel. And when Life By R R subsequently won, victorious jockey Alex Solis realized the significance of the win as he passed the finish line. Solis gave a couple of fist pumps, something usually seen in a stakes race, not a $25,000 claimer.

"He gave me so many great rides," Solis said of Frankel. "From Ryafan to one of my all-time favorites, Megahertz. He was good to me for many, many years."

Humberto Ascanio, Frankel's long-time assistant, saddled Life By R R. Beginning Thursday, when he ran Porfido in the seventh race, Ascanio will be listed as the trainer of Frankel's former horses. Ascanio spoke to Frankel daily and knew how grave the situation had become.

"When he died, I actually felt relief, because he wasn't suffering any more," Ascanio said. "It was relief, not that he died, but that he's not suffering anymore. I learned a lot from him. We had a long run. He made my life better. He took care of my family. He was good to all his help."

Life By R R was claimed out of the race by trainer Doug O'Neill, who has been sending horses from this circuit to Philadelphia Park to take advantage of the lucrative purses offered to mid-level claiming horses there. Philadelphia Park has purses enhanced by slots revenue, which is not the case in California.

Ascanio to run three in stakes

Ascanio said he will have runners in three stakes next weekend, when Hollywood Park presents its popular Turf Festival.

Ascanio will send out Fluke and Proudinsky in the Grade 1, $300,000 Citation Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on turf for older horses Friday. Fluke, a Brazilian import, is coming off a third-level allowance win at Belmont Park. In his only previous stakes try in this country, he was fifth in the Maker's Mark Mile at Keeneland.

The veteran Proudinsky has won the Mervin Muniz at the Fair Grounds the past two years.

Next Saturday, Ascanio will saddle Ventura for her final career start in the Grade 1, $300,000 Matriarch Stakes at one mile on turf for older fillies and mares. Ventura finished second in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint in her last start and won the Woodbine Mile against males earlier this year.

Juddmonte plans undecided

Frankel's major client for nearly 20 years was Prince Khalid Abdullah's Juddmonte Farms, which owns Ventura. For now, Ascanio will handle those horses. But as to what Juddmonte will do long term, that is up in the air, according to Dr. John Chandler, who oversees Juddmonte's North American interests.

"Bobby was a two-coast trainer," Chandler said from Kentucky. "Obviously, we've given this a lot of thought. But we haven't made any firm decisions.

"When we started with Bobby, everybody thought it was an extremely strange combination. Obviously, it turned out to be a very good decision. Most of Juddmonte's major achievements were mostly due to Bobby's training. We had a long and extremely smooth relationship. He will be terribly missed."

Ascanio said he has been told by Juddmonte "that I will keep the horses for awhile, but ultimately the prince will have to make a decision."

Talamo returns to action

Jockey Joe Talamo was back riding at Hollywood Park on Thursday after missing Wednesday's card with what he and his agent, Scotty McClellan, theorize was a case of food poisoning.

Talamo attended Frankel's memorial service on Tuesday afternoon, then went out for Mexican food. Wednesday morning, according to McClellan, Talamo worked a horse at 6 a.m. at Santa Anita, but felt so weak he did not work another horse later in the morning, took off his mounts, and ended up sleeping until 5 p.m. Wednesday.

"He was up all night Tuesday night," McClellan said Thursday morning. "He said he kept throwing up. He didn't have a fever, but he couldn't keep anything down. He said he felt better after sleeping Wednesday."

Marsh Side, 'Mamba' to Asia

Marsh Side and Black Mamba are among the local horses who will compete next month in international races in the Far East.

Black Mamba is back with trainer John Sadler after being sold earlier this month at the Fasig-Tipton November sale. Black Mamba will start in the Hong Kong Vase on Dec. 11, Sadler said.

Marsh Side left for Japan on Thursday, according to John O'Donoghue, the assistant to trainer Neil Drysdale. He goes next in the Japan Cup on Dec. 6. Marsh Side most recently competed in the Pattison International at Woodbine, where he set the pace before tiring.

* A field of six 2-year-old fillies, headed by Anoakia Stakes winner Crisis of Spirit, was entered Thursday for the seven-furlong, $100,000 Moccasin Stakes on Sunday.

* Garrett Gomez has been invited to compete in a jockey challenge competition at Hanshin in Japan on Dec. 5, according to his agent, Ron Anderson. As a result, Gomez will be absent from Hollywood Park the first week of December.