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Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel dies at 68
Associated Press

Bobby Frankel


Associated Press

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Published: 11/16/2009 11:34 AM

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LOS ANGELES -- Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, who won the 2003 Belmont Stakes with Empire Maker, has died after a long bout with cancer. He was 68. Jockey agent Ron Anderson said Frankel died early Monday at home in Pacific Palisades. Frankel had been running his stable by phone for most of the year while he was undergoing treatment. Frankel began his training career by turning lowly claiming horses into stakes winners, and wound up with earnings of more than $200 million. "He started at the bottom and worked his way to the top of our profession," said Anderson, who booked riders on horses trained by Frankel over the years. "He was a very kindhearted person that had people that worked for him for 20, 30 years, which is almost unheard of around the racetrack." Frankel was a five-time Eclipse Award winner as the nation's leading trainer, the last time in 2003. He won his only Triple Crown race with Empire Maker in the Belmont, dashing the Triple Crown bid of Funny Cide, who had won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. Frankel trained six Breeders' Cup winners, including 2004 Classic winner Ghostzapper, and ranked second to D. Wayne Lukas in career Breeders' Cup earnings. His last Breeders' Cup win came with Ventura in the 2008 Filly & Mare Sprint at Santa Anita. Ventura finished second in this year's race at the same track, with Frankel listed as the trainer. The Brooklyn-born Frankel split his time between New York and California, where he first moved in 1972. He won a record 60 races at Hollywood Park in Inglewood on his way to the first of 30 training titles in Southern California, including a record six at Santa Anita. He began his career cooling out horses after their workouts at Belmont Park and Aqueduct, and took out his trainer's license in 1966. He won his first race with Double Dash at Aqueduct that November. Frankel, who was twice divorced, is survived by his grown daughter Bethenny, who has appeared on the Bravo reality series "Real Housewives of New York City."