Thursday, November 26, 2009

Bite of Bobby

I have yet to weigh in on the recent passing of racing legend Bobby Frankel, but, like many others, I do have a story. I encountered Bobby just once in my racing adventures (it would be a stretch to say I met him). This was in August 2004, while I was at Saratoga for the Travers. At 16, I was fairly new to the racing scene, but I knew who Bobby was. I knew Medaglia D'oro, Empire Maker, Sightseek, Tates Creek and Heat Haze, among many others. And I knew he trained one of my favourite older runners, Peace Rules. I did not know about Bobby's often crusty facade, nor did I understand the privacy with which some trainers like to blanket their barns. I came across Bobby's barn while exploring the Saratoga backside, and was delighted to see the legendary trainer standing outside. Bouncing up to him, I announced to Bobby that I would like to meet Peace Rules. He stared down at me blankly for a moment, a look of surprise on his face as he assessed the gangly adolescent frame staring up at him. Finally muttering "okay", he led me over to the stall and walked away. Those were the only words and few moments of contact I ever had with Bobby, but as I've grown and learned more about racing and Bobby's legendary character, I would often think back on that morning and laugh. Bobby was well known for his gruff character, but the consent he made that day for a young girl who loved a horse showed how much Bobby really cared.

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