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Robert J. Frankel

Robert Frankel
Occupation Trainer
Birthplace Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Birth date 9, 1941(1941-Template:MONTHNUMBER-09)
Death date 16, 2009 (aged 68)
California, U.S.
Career wins 3,654[1]
Major racing wins, honours & awards
Major racing wins

Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap
(1973, 1979, 1991, 1992, 1999, 2002)
Eddie Read Handicap
(1977, 1981, 1982, 1986, 1989, 1992, 1997)
Vanity Invitational Handicap (1984)
John C. Mabee Handicap
(1990, 1995, 1998, 2003, 2007)
Santa Anita Handicap
(1990, 2002, 2003)
Arlington Handicap
(1991, 1994, 1996, 2000)
Clement L. Hirsch Turf Championship Stakes
(1991, 1999, 2000, 2001)
Hollywood Gold Cup (1991, 2001, 2008)
Hollywood Derby (1991, 1999, 2001)
Pacific Classic Stakes
(1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 2000, 2001)
Santa Ana Handicap
(1992, 1994, 1995, 1999, 2000, 2005, 2007, 2008)
Woodward Stakes
(1993, 2001, 2003, 2004)
Yellow Ribbon Stakes
(1993, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2005)
Santa Barbara Handicap
(1994, 1995, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007)
Frank E. Kilroe Mile Handicap (1996, 2002, 2005)
Matriarch Stakes
(1996, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007)
Arlington Million (2000, 2002)
Jockey Club Gold Cup (2001)
Whitney Handicap (2001, 2003)
Travers Stakes (2002)
Coaching Club American Oaks (2003)
Forego Handicap (2003, 2004, 2005, 2008)
Wood Memorial Stakes (2003)
Florida Derby (2003)
Haskell Invitational Handicap (2003)
Louisiana Derby (2003, 2005)

American Classics / Breeders' Cup wins:
Belmont Stakes (2003)
Breeders' Cup Sprint (2001)
Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (2002, 2005)
Breeders' Cup Classic (2004)
Breeders' Cup Distaff (2007)

International wins:
Japan Cup (1988)
E. P. Taylor Stakes (2004)
Queen's Plate (2005)
Racing awards
Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer
(1993, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003)
U.S. Champion Trainer by earnings
(1993, 2002, 2003)
National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame (1995)
Significant horses
Squirtle Squirt, Bertrando, Empire Maker,
Peace Rules, Milwaukee Brew, Starine, Beat Hollow,
Medaglia d'Oro, Sightseek, Ghostzapper,
Leroidesanimaux, Ginger Punch, Stardom Bound

Robert Julian Frankel[2] (July 9, 1941 – November 16, 2009) was an American thoroughbred race horse trainer whom ESPN called "one of the most successful and respected trainers in the history of thoroughbred racing."[3] He was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1995, and was a five-time winner of the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer. Often referred to as "Bobby" by others, he preferred and always used "Robert." [4]

Life and career

Early in his career, in 1960s New York, Frankel assisted the prominent trainer, Buddy Jacobson. On his own, Frankel saddled his first winner late in 1966[5] before struggling somewhat in 1967, when he won with just 9 of 101 starters.[6] He was rolling, however during 1968, winning 36 of 165 outings as his horses accumulated 167 grand in purse money.[7] In the next few years he continued to prosper in New York and during the winter of 1970–1971, he had some success at the classy West Coast meeting at Santa Anita.

After moving permanently to California in 1972, Robert Frankel became the talk of the horse betting world, winning a record 60 races at Hollywood Park. Many of those victories came with runners whom he acquired as low-cost claimers for one of his owners such as Edmund Gann with whom he had a thirty-year working relationship. These horses typically showed dramatic improvement under his care, sometimes winning their very next start against higher priced claiming company.

Frankel was an avid follower of the training techniques of the late and great Charlie Whittingham, trainer of champions such as Ferdinand and Sunday Silence. Frankel has won several Eclipse Awards, the year-end horse racing awards, for best trainer. He has set earnings records, Grade I Stakes victories records, and many others. Frankel has also won the Pacific Classic Stakes a record six times, including four in a row.

Some of his best horses include Squirtle Squirt, his first Breeders' Cup winner; Skimming 2-time winner of the Grade 1 Pacific Classic Stakes; Sightseek, winner of the Humana Distaff Handicap (Gr. I) and Ogden Phipps Handicap (Gr. I); triple Grade I winner; Empire Maker, victor of the Belmont Stakes (Gr. I); multiple Grade I winning Peace Rules; two-time Santa Anita Handicap (Gr. I) winner Milwaukee Brew; and Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (Gr. I) winner Starine, whom he also owned; and Ghostzapper, the Breeders' Cup Classic (Gr. I) winner who was voted the 2004 Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year.

Robert Frankel was the U.S. Champion Trainer by earnings in 2002 and 2003.

On June 26, 2005, the horse Wild Desert, owned by several businesspeople including former New York Yankees manager Joe Torre, gave Frankel his first victory in the $1 million Queen's Plate, the first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown at Woodbine Racetrack.

His daughter Bethenny Frankel, daughter of Bernadette Parisella, who has stated she had little to no relationship with him, is currently starring in The Real Housewives of New York City, a reality television program on the Bravo network.

Frankel died at his home in California on November 16, 2009 at the age of 68, after having leukemia for most of the year.[8]


  1. "Bobby Frankel dies at 68". Daily Racing Form. November 16, 2009. http://www.drf.com/news/article/108964.html. Retrieved November 16, 2009. 
  2. Veromi [1]
  3. [2]
  4. [3]
  5. [4]
  6. The American Racing Manual, 1968
  7. The American Racing Manual, 1969
  8. "Hall of Famer Bobby Frankel Dies at 68". BloodHorse.com. November 16, 2009. http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/53469/hall-of-famer-bobby-frankel-dies-at-68. Retrieved November 16, 2009. 


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