Hollywood Park | Posted 7/6/2009, 3:01 pm
Illness keeps Frankel home in California
By Steve Andersen
Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, shown patting Ginger Punch last summer, has not been to the track in recent weeks but has been in contact with his assistant, Humberto Ascanio.
INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel is battling an undisclosed illness at his Los Angeles area home, according to several people close to him, and has stayed away from the racetrack in recent weeks, leading to widespread concern among his friends and colleagues in the sport about his long-term health.
Frankel, who turns 68 on Thursday, remains in daily contact with his longtime assistant trainer, Humberto Ascanio, on the stable's affairs, Ascanio said on Saturday. But some trainers and jockey agents who have tried to contact Frankel in recent weeks to wish him well or discuss racing business said in the last week they have not spoken to him.
His prolonged absence has triggered a rash of backstretch rumors about his condition. Normally, Frankel would spend the summer in New York, making only occasional trips to California for major races, if it all. This summer, he has been at home in Pacific Palisades, according to Ascanio.
Ascanio declined to describe Frankel's illness, but said that the trainer "sounds better" in recent days.
"I don't miss one day of talking to him," Ascanio said. "I hear a lot of rumors and I can't comment. It's his private life.
"I talk business and that's it. He's a fighter. He doesn't want any sympathy."