Almost a year has gone by since the passing of Bobby Frankel. I never met Bobby, but I knew several people who knew him from his days in New York. I think I would have liked him though, a consummate horseman with an edge. From what I’ve always heard, not an easy guy to get to know, but all I know is he appeared to love his animals. Who can forget the year he missed the Breeder’s Cup to stay home with his beloved dog, “Happy ?”
I miss reading about Bobby and his Juddmont stars, I miss that his horses always seemed to be live, I miss that he’s no longer part of the racing scene, because he left it way too soon.
This summer while at Saratoga, I made a visit to Cabin Creek Farm, the Bobby Frankel Division of Old Friends. And the spirit of Bobby Frankel is very evident there.
From what I’ve been told, Bobby was very concerned with the plight of the retired race horse and he was very generous with Old Friends.
The sign you see here was made by Bobby because he grew tired of people parking in his spot at his barn at Saratoga. He “borrowed” a NYRA sign and customized it with red tape letters. My guess is he got his point across. At Cabin Creek you will also find his original Eclipse Award. As the story goes, this was the one handed to him on stage that night. But he had them make another one that read “Robert” instead of “Bobby.”
Cabin Creek is a 40 acre facility, located in Greenfield Center, NY a 20 minute ride from the center of Saratoga Springs. It is run by Jo Ann and Mark Pepper, who are dedicated to the health and welfare of retired Thoroughbreds either off the track, or retired from the breeding shed. Travers winners Thunder Rumble and Will’s Way reside there, as well as the infamous maiden Zippy Chippy.
We can’t forget the many horses and places like this that could use our help. It’s tough times for everyone, but even a little bit helps. As a horse owner I have always believed it is imperative to be responsible for what happens to horses we have owned and raced and trust me, it’s not always easy. As a racing fan, I think it’s important to remember how much pleasure we get out of this game because of the horses. It is always about the horses
If you get the chance to visit Old Friends either in Kentucky or New York, take the time to go. You won’t be sorry .Take a look at that homemade sign of Bobby’s. He left his mark on racing, and he won’t let us forget that if we are a part of the racing game in any way, retired horses need our help.
As usual,a well written piece,Susan.ReplyDelete
Many stories have been written about Bobby Frankel more so after his death. The one that stands out was told from an interview with Chad Brown. It seems that kittens and cats were being run down on the backstretch at Oklahoma Training Track from cars,trucks going too fast. He was sick of it. Bobby went outside when it was done again and yelled at the culprit for going too fast. He was so upset to see yet another cat killed, that he left. Chad told him that he had horses running that day... in a stakes race even. But Bobby told him that he had to get out of there because it bothered him so much about the cruel ways people deal with animals.
Bobby, always seemed like someone you could not approach. When it came to animals though, he was a big softy. It makes sense that he would have a place like Old Friends named after him. Why not?
We do need to help our friends from the past. Our racing partnership gives a portion of our winnings (very small stable so winnings are not easy to come by, but we do it) to a retirement foundation and usually find homes for our horses from the past. One you will see daily is Diligent Gambler. He is now a pony for a racing stable that use to train him.
This Frankel Division is well taken care of. They are doing a great job and have worked extremely hard getting this division's feet off the ground. I am sure they will take any donation as any is better than none.
A nice holiday gift wouldn't you say?
Nice story about Bobby. Great to hear that your Racing Partnership gives a little back. Hope there are a lot more winners in your future! It's a Win-Win. Thanks for sharing.