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Bobby Frankel, Hall of Fame thoroughbred-racehorse trainer, dead at 68

November 17, 2009 |  1:23 pm

Thoroughbred-racehorse trainer Robert "Bobby" Frankel died at his Pacific Palisades home Monday after a battle with lymphoma.  Frankel was a Hall of Fame trainer and a five-time winner of the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer who worked with horses including Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker.  Here's an excerpt from our colleague Eric Sondheimer's obituary of Frankel:

Frankel "He was a horse whisperer with racehorses," fellow trainer Barry Abrams said.

For more than 40 years, Frankel was one of the best in his sport. His horses earned $227,947,775 in purses, second on the money list to D. Wayne Lukas' record. He was a five-time recipient of racing's Eclipse Award for outstanding trainer, and he won 30 training titles.

Born July 9, 1941, in New York, Frankel was the son of New York caterers. He grew up in Brooklyn and was a maverick teenager who loved racing, handicapping and gambling.

He started training in 1966 in New York, moved to California in 1972 and was known as the "King of the Claimers" for his ability to select horses before a race to purchase regardless of the outcome.

"He was very smart," trainer Julio Canani said. "He'd claim a horse for $20,000 and run him for $8,000. He had everyone confused. They didn't know what he was doing."

Frankel's horses won a record 60 times during the Hollywood Park spring meeting in 1972, one of 10 training titles he won at the Inglewood track.


Photo: Frankel looks out from his barn at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., in 2003.  Credit: Ed Reinke / Associated Press

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