Friday 25 May 2018

Frankel more than a namesake

Frankel won five Eclipse awards for outstanding trainer and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995. Photo: Getty Images
Frankel won five Eclipse awards for outstanding trainer and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995. Photo: Getty Images

Thomas Kelly

So, just who was Robert Julian Frankel - aka Bobby - supertrainer and namesake of the wonder horse?

Born in Brooklyn in 1941, Frankel initially plied his trade on the east coast of America, saddling his first winner at Aqueduct in November 1966 before switching to California.

He demonstrated his skills by notching up a record 60 wins at the now-defunct Hollywood Park in 1972 and over a 43-year career he went on to bag 3,654 winners, with prize money of nearly $228million.

Frankel won five Eclipse awards for outstanding trainer and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995, while in 2003 he chalked up the record-breaking 25 Grade One wins in a year that was surpassed by Aidan O'Brien on Saturday when Saxon Warrior won the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster.

He handled the likes of Breeders' Cup victors Ghostzapper, Banks Hill, Intercontinental and Squirtle Squirt, with other familiar names he trained including Medaglia d'Oro, Bertrando and Empire Maker, who gave him his sole Classic success when winning the 2003 Belmont Stakes.

Frankel also won six renewals of both the Pacific Classic and Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap and had seven winners in the Eddie Read Handicap to go with such international contests as the Japan Cup, which he claimed in 1988 with Pay The Butler.

Frankel was diagnosed with leukaemia and after saddling one last big winner with Champs Elysees in the 2009 Canadian International, died aged 68 on November 16.

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