Racing: Frankel, the boy from Brooklyn, is ready to rumble

For inside was his master, the trainer who has gained a reputation for being an irascible Vesuvius of opinion. Inside was Bobby Frankel.

Yet Frankel is not really so angry any more. He has got little to be angry about. With over 3,000 winners on the board, Frankel is acknowledged as a master craftsman of horseflesh. He has horses in California and he has horses here at Belmont Park, back where it all started 50 years ago.

Frankel is from Brooklyn and if you did not know you would soon work it out. He has the accent and he has the attitude and the quick judgements keep coming. Frankel rather likes the fact he has emerged from a non-racing background.

"Maybe that was an advantage for me," he said yesterday. "You don't get certain things set in your mind, certain ideas that you grew up with. You got a clear head and you make your own judgements. I've heard things at the racetrack that have been passed down from era to era that are pure bullshit."

As a boy, Frankel used to take the ferry ride to Monmouth Park or drive with his folks down the I-95 to Baltimore and Pimlico. This is his 'hood. "I'd go down to the candy store in Far Rockaway every night at 7.30 when the [Daily Racing] Form came out," he said. "I'd handicap all night long and then go out to the races the next day."

Then he started hotwalking and, after three months of that, he was a trainer. "I'd get up, go to the barn, stay at the barn friggin' all day long until six at night. I was a workaholic. I didn't know where I was going but I always tried to be No 1.

"I believe if you work hard enough the opportunities come along. I've seen down the years everybody gets a chance. It's just a question of grabbing it when it shows up."

In his early career, Frankel was known as King of the Claimers. "The thing then, and it always will be, was to win," he said. "I've seen guys claim a horse for $10,000 and be happy when it runs second in a $30,000 claimer. They think that's a big deal. Winning is the big deal. People remember winners. Second is the first loser."

One who noticed was Khalid Abdullah. The Saudi owner started sending Frankel horses in 1990 and the trainer detected this was his moment. He did not let it wander by. "I was in the right place at the right time," he said. "Where in the world do you get better bred horses than these?"

Yet, for many years, the Breeders' Cup series was a desert for Frankel. He was 0 for 36 coming into the 2001 running. Then Squirtle Squirt snapped the schneid, as they say in these parts.

"If you look at it, I only started one favourite," Frankel added. "That was Bertrando and he got beaten by Arcangues [André Fabre's 134-1 winner at Santa Anita in 1993]. He ran well but a freakish thing happened. When Arcangues went by I didn't know who he was. It took me five minutes to find out."

All the money has not gone to Frankel's head. In fact, it is hard to see where it has gone at all. The 64-year-old trainer emerged into the chill fall air yesterday wearing a distressed windcheater, jeans and a brown baseball hat. Grooming, it seems, is reserved purely for the horses.

Around him, the staff seemed eager to please. "I still get a little hot," the trainer once told me. "I just try to get the job done, so they need my attention once in a while. You hate to yell, but sometimes it's the only way to get to someone."

The trainer will be yelling the horses home tomorrow, when he has three representatives at Breeders' Cup XXII. The best of them looks to be Leroidesanimaux, favourite for the Mile. The Brazilian-born horse has done something strange to his conditioner. He has led him, for the first time, into the world of understatement.

"Put it this way," Bobby Frankel said, "I've looked at the race and I'll be a little disappointed if he doesn't win."

Richard Edmondson has won the Joe Hirsch Breeders' Cup Writing Award for his piece on Funny Cide in 2004. It is the second time he has collected the award and remains the only non-North American to have won the competition.

Richard Edmondson

Nap: Colisay

(Newmarket 3.15)

NB: Erytheis

(Newmarket 2.05)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Extras
indybest
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Poet’s corner: Philip Larkin at the venetian window of his home in 1958
booksOr caring, playful man who lived for others? A new book has the answer
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
News
Matthew McConaughey and his son Levi at the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros at Fenway Park on August 17, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.
advertisingOscar-winner’s Lincoln deal is latest in a lucrative ad production line
Life and Style
Pick of the bunch: Sudi Pigott puts together roasted tomatoes with peppers, aubergines and Labneh cheese for a tomato-inspired vegetarian main dish
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Support, Help desk)

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Learning, SQL, Brokerage)

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Lea...

UNIX Application Support Analyst- Support, UNIX, London

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: UNIX Application Support Analyst-...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape