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)

Sport
football This was Kane’s night, even if he played just a small part of it
Travel
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
News
news
News
Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
media
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Threlfall says: 'I am a guardian of the reality keys. I think I drive directors nuts'
people
Voices
voices The group has just unveiled a billion dollar plan to help nurse the British countryside back to health
News
The Westgate, a gay pub in the centre of Gloucester which played host to drag queens, has closed
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: New Lift Sales Executive - Lift and Elevators

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A challenging opportunity for a...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss