01/04/2012 9:40AM

Santa Anita: Trainer Humberto Ascanio recovering from stroke


ARCADIA, Calif. - Trainer Humberto Ascanio, a former assistant to Hall of Famer Bobby Frankel, is recovering from the effects of a stroke suffered on Dec. 30 and will at least temporarily disband his 12-horse stable, according to his son, Matthew.

Ascanio, 64, is undergoing rehabilitation at Arcadia Methodist Hospital and has shown improvement in recent days. Initially, Ascanio lost some movement on the right side of his body, but has since shown progress.

“He’s doing a little better,” Matthew Ascanio said on Tuesday evening. “He had a moderate stroke and he’s trying to recuperate. He’s in the rehab part of it. He’s going to have to take some time away.”

It was unclear how long Ascanio would be hospitalized, his son said.  Part of the therapy focuses on improving speech.

“We’ll find out more in the next few days,” Matthew Ascanio said. “Today he was a little better. The right side of his body has slowed him down. He regained feeling in his right arm. It’s going to be a process.”

The 12 horses in his care were sent to trainers such as Jack Carava, Melody Conlon, Carla Gaines, and Marty Jones. Matthew Ascanio said his father has mentioned reforming a racing stable when his condition improves. “Right now, they said to take it easy and relax,” he said.

A popular figure at Southern California tracks, Ascanio worked as an assistant for Frankel from the mid-1970s until the Hall of Famer’s death in 2009. At that time, Ascanio took over a small portion of Frankel’s stable. Last year, the highlight of the season for Ascanio was Fluke’s win in the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita.