Floored by Frankel

It just doesn’t make sense. Frankel seems an aberration, a contradiction; something that defies all the rules of genetics and racing tradition. At the risk of sounding pompous and disgustingly provincial, Frankel should have American blood coursing through his veins, especially on his sire’s side; a Seattle Slew incarnate let loose over the grassy expanses of European racetracks. After all, how else can you explain a horse who contradicts all the principals of European racing and breeding by running with the brilliance and controlled reckless abandon of, well, an American. Yet he is by an Irish-bred staying sire, out of an Irish-bred mare, by a staying stallion who was the leading sire in England, Ireland, France, and Australia multiple times each?

Europe has, of course, produced fast enough sprinters, but nothing like Frankel, who carries sprinting speed a distance of ground and just keeps going, crushing his opponents, who cannot match his devastating speed and power. You just do not see horses in Europe, where two lengths is considered a romp, winning all nine of their career starts by an average margin of five lengths, including victories of six, 10, and 13 lengths. You don’t see horses opening up a 10-length lead midway through the 2,000 Guineas and winning in a canter. Here is a horse who can beat a top-class miler like Canford Cliffs with an explosive turn of foot or simply run his foes into the ground right from the start, as he did in the Guineas.

So, what is the explanation behind an enigmatic wonder like Frankel? Could it be the American blood from his female family through Danzig, His Majesty, and Stage Door Johnny, gushing forth like it never has before? Those names evoke stamina more than speed.

Could it be there is something mystical about this horse? Could it be the American influence is not from any of the horses in his pedigree, but from the person for whom he was named?

When Bobby Frankel died in Nov. 2009, it’s as if his spirit was whisked away to England, manifesting itself inside a yearling colt by Galileo. Why would Juddmonte name a son of Galileo after Frankel, rather than a colt with an American pedigree who could show off his brilliance in the States? Did they know something? Was it gut instinct? Was this particular Galileo yearling running around his paddock cursing out his fellow yearlings and finding something to complain about? Or perhaps he walked up to the fence one day and boldly stated he was going to be a super horse, and if you didn’t believe him you were a moron.

Whatever the reason, it is beginning to look more and more as if Frankel the horse embodies the spirit of Frankel the human, whether you buy it or not.

Let’s look at the facts, Bobby hated to lose. Bobby dreamed of having that one immortal superstar for Juddmonte and believed he did with Empire Maker. Bobby was so competitive he took no prisoners on the racetrack. If he could crush you he would. Bobby was defiant and never afraid of any opponent. He never backed down from a challenge and would love to have seen his namesake come here for the Breeders’ Cup Mile and attempt to thwart Goldikova’s bid for a fourth consecutive victory. If Frankel the horse did come for the BC Mile (which he will not according to trainer Henry Cecil) and knocked off everyone’s favorite heroine, Frankel the person would have flashed that familiar Cheshire cat grin and relished having spoiled the fairy tale ending, just as he did when he defeated the darling of New York, Funny Cide, in the Belmont Stakes. He enjoyed being the bad guy.

But if Frankel the horse did win the Mile, he would not return to the boos that awaited Empire Maker after the Belmont. The colt has built up his own legion of fans, and many Americans would rejoice if Frankel came here and won. After all, in many ways this is his rightful home and it would be a shame if he never got the opportunity to show off his American-style brilliance to America.                                                                                                         

Bobby may have enjoyed playing the bad guy, but behind that crusty exterior was a marshmallow of a heart and soul that always had a warm place for his special circle of friends -- human, equine, and canine; not necessarily in that order. He was almost childlike around his horses and especially his Australian Shepherds. When the love of his life, Happy, died in his arms he wept like a baby and was grief-stricken for weeks, unable to talk about her without breaking down. When Happy was seriously ill, Bobby had decided to stay home and care for her rather than attend the Breeders’ Cup. As a result, he missed Ginger Punch’s gutsy victory in the Distaff. He would name his next dog Ginger and the following one Punch.

Several days before his filly, Flute, won the Kentucky Oaks in 2001, he stood outside her stall with a big smile on his face and lavished affection on her, hugging and kissing her and talking baby talk to her. He said he wanted her to win badly, simply because she was such a sweet filly to be around. That was the Bobby Frankel few people ever saw.

As for Frankel the horse, he is the culmination of a miracle that began in 1990 when a brash, outspoken Jew from the streets of Brooklyn, N.Y. formed a long-lasting bond with a Saudi Arabian prince.

It was an unlikely partnership that somehow became one of the most successful alliances in racing history. Everything they built together and everything they strove for has been realized in one very special colt. Perhaps it is appropriate that Frankel the horse remains an enigma. Some things just aren’t worth trying to figure out.


Leave a Comment:


Great job with this, Steve.  Frankel, the trainer, and Frankel, the horse, are so alike it's scary.  You did a wonderful job of describing the two Frankels.  Thanks!  Donna B~

15 Oct 2011 8:59 PM
Linda in Texas

I am so glad you wrote this article.

I asked a question Steve if Frankel

might be coming to the States for The British Cup. But when i watched

some excerpts from the race it was mentioned that Sir Cecil said this was his last race of the year.

I admired and respected Mr. Frankel and how he treated his race horses and the wonderful support he still lends to Old Friends through his legacy to this day. Makes me wonder why all the good ones, or almost all, are taken so young.

The fourth paragraph from the bottom is veracity at it's highest point. So true, so true. And Steve,

hope you won't mind if i say this but, it takes one to know one, good man, sir.

You are the best.

Thanks Steve

15 Oct 2011 9:04 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

I love this article. It's brilliant and brought up some strong emotions for me as a fan of Frankel, the man first and now the horse. Frankel the horse is such an ironic and fabulous tribute to a fascinating man who was an excellent trainer. It makes sense to me that Bobby Frankel's greatest tribute comes from a superior animal in the form of beauty and dominance in racing rather than a human being making a speech. Coming from a human he might say, "What the hell does he know?" Coming from Frankel the horse he would be proud and maybe tearful and think it's the greatest tribute possible. And I do believe that Frankel will be racing in America next year and what better place to say "Hello Bobby, this win's for you" than in the Breeder's Cup at Santa Anita?

15 Oct 2011 9:06 PM
Paula Higgins

This is great Steve. I was wondering when someone was going to write about this superstar. He is one awesome horse. It gladdens my heart greatly that he was named after Bobby Frankel. Bobby loved his dogs and horses with all his heart and that says it all. I can totally relate to that. It tells me alot about the man. I was very saddened by his death. I am one of those that believes people live on and if Bobby lives on in a horse, even better.

15 Oct 2011 9:07 PM

Just an absolutely brilliant animal.  Fitting that he is named for Mr Frankel, who was a brilliant trainer.  Great racing in England today, and what about Together running back in 7 days and winning!

15 Oct 2011 9:10 PM

Typing with one hand and reaching for a tissue with the other!  What a wonderful story and, as usual, beautifully written...

The irony is that had Bobby not passed away, this colt might not bear his name and you would be calling this superstar by some other moniker.  But if we believe there is something beyond life as we know it on earth, perhaps Mr Bobby Frankel is smiling from up above.

Thank you for sharing his love & devotion to his pets. I remember when he skipped the BC to be with the sick pup.  There's something mighty special about any human who puts the love of an animal in a special place in his heart.

15 Oct 2011 9:24 PM
Needler in Virginia

Steve, I think you're right (in your last paragraph) when you say "some things just aren't worth trying to figure out." For THIS horse, named after THIS man, I'm not gonna question the racing gods. I'm gonna sit back and enjoy the show. We've been granted more than a few equine miracles lately, and for that we should all be grateful; for that we should all fall down and thank whatever powers that be. I think we're seeing another miracle rising in the east over Ireland, and frankly I don't give a hairy rat's a** who his sire and dam are. I don't care who trains him, who rides him or who sews his jockey's silks; I'm thrilled he's here, that he is what he is, and that I'm around to see it. You GO, Frankel!

Well done!!

Cheers and safe trips.

15 Oct 2011 9:39 PM

I think Frankel will win the BC Classic next year, after his stablemate So You Think wins it this year

15 Oct 2011 9:46 PM
steve from st louis

Both the horse and his namesake were brash, exciting and the best of their generation.

What a tribute by the Prince to name this horse for his late trainer. He races like an American but stays like a European. Everyone on both sides of the pond can share this champion. I just hope he winters well and runs in the United States sometime in the future. I would pay to see him walk in a circle.

15 Oct 2011 10:12 PM
Bill Two

Well, after watching this horse demolish the best milers in Europe it seems you may be on to something. This is a force of nature and certainly is not your garden variety race horse.  I think he's getting better all the time - if that's possible.  That turn of foot he showed today just devastated the field. Sure would love to see him come over here.  I don't know how he would react to negotiating two turns, but does anybody really think that would be a problem for him?  Goldikova needs something to run at and it would be interesting to see whether she's still good enough to beat a horse this good.  Right now, I'd have to say she isn't.  

15 Oct 2011 10:14 PM

I read something that made me chuckle - the rest of the horses were "Frankelised" I watched the race today on TVG, know his hx but with that comment,  a new catch phrase - how appropriate - the horse Frankel & the trainer Frankel. I can think of many situations where horses were Frankelised by Mr Bobby Frankel, including Funny Cide.  I can't even begin to wonder how the Juddemonte crew picked this particular colt to honor Bobby but they sure got it right.  I hope Frankel doesn't come for BC Mile because then I'd have to pick from Goldie, Gio Ponti & Frankel, not betting-just urging my fav home as I'll be at BC this yr.

15 Oct 2011 10:25 PM

Steve: Simple. Frankel is a Sadler's Wells- Danehill(Danzig) cross. The two greatest sires of all time.

15 Oct 2011 10:32 PM

Frankel was great but the top story of the day is:

French horse Cirrus Des Aigles upset the odds to beat hot favourite So You Think by three-quarters of a length in the Champion Stakes.

However, winning jockey Christophe Soumillon was later penalised for breaching the new whip rules and fined his prize money of about £50,000, the biggest jockey purse in British racing.

15 Oct 2011 11:02 PM

This is an interesting view..I like it..I like it a lot..Thanks Steve for your thoughts written in such an eloquent way.Frankel was pretty cool to watch today..

15 Oct 2011 11:10 PM
Greg R

Frankel has always LOOKED to me like a sprinter.  He has the chunky build of a Henny Hughes.  This is why I was surprised when he went on to be a superior miler at three.  By the way, we will never know what the outcome would have been had Canford Cliffs really run his race in his last start against Frankel.  He was going wrong in that race and bolted to the grandstand side.  He may not have won, but would have been much closer.  Frankel is not coming to KY, but he would not have been a cinch in the Mile.  Goldikova has been pointed to/geared for this race all year and for Frankel, it would have been an afterthought.  She has the further edge of being suited to - and proven on - the American-style turf course layout.

15 Oct 2011 11:46 PM
Karen in Indiana

Ah, Steve, another one of those articles that brings tears to my eyes. Thanks! I was looking at his pedigree and wondering why they didn't try him longer and then I heard it said after the race that next year, he's getting stretched out to 1 1/4 miles. Hmmm - what big race is run at 1 1/4 mile that a 4 yr. old could run in? Hopefully, we'll see him here next year and he will have the biggest fan base of Americans waiting to cheer for him.

Jon, Cirrus Des Aigles had to set a new record in order to beat So You Think.

15 Oct 2011 11:49 PM
Terry M.

Well, my guess is that part of the reason Frankel (the horse) is brilliant is because of Northern Dancer being up close on both sides of his pedigree. The Dancer went a mile and a quarter in two minutes flat in the Derby, won the Preakness, was third in the Belmont (where his trip was very bad) and won the Queen's Plate. For at least two of those races, he was running hurt. He won 14 of 18 and was never worse than third. There is speed and stamina there in spades.

15 Oct 2011 11:55 PM
Greg R

Frankel is unbeatable at Ascot, but he would not have been a cinch at Churchill in the BC Mile.  Goldikova has been pointed to/geared for this race all year and will be peaking for it, while for Frankel, it would be an afterthought.  Goldikova has the further edge of being proven on the American-style turf course layout (two tight turns).

Speaking of Frankel's sprint speed, I would like to see him actually sprint as an older horse, as well as running the mile.  He has always struck me as having a chunky sprinter's build, like a Henny Hughes, e.g., which is why I was a little surprised when he went on to be a superior miler at three.

16 Oct 2011 12:08 AM

Frankel Vs Black Caviar. Now that would be a race for the ages.

16 Oct 2011 5:29 AM

The Breeders Cup should open the vault and make a Godfather offer to Frankel's connections.  Is that a bad analogy?

16 Oct 2011 5:39 AM


What can we say. He is simply an all-time great.

Timeform now has him rated 1 lb behind that other freak of nature, Brigadier Gerard, and only 2 lbs below the all-time greatest, Sea Bird.

It is astonishing that anyone would compare Goldikova to his horse. She will not even qualify for the Timeform All-Time Highweights list.

I hope he retires now so we can have competitive racing in Europe. It is just not conceivable that he can be beaten in races up to 10 furlongs.

This is his Zip Code:

Timeform's 140+ rated horses:

145 Sea Bird II

144 Brigadier Gerard, Tudor Minstrel

143 Frankel

142 Abernant, Ribot, Windy City

141 Mill Reef

140 Dancing Brave, Dubai Millennium, Sea The Stars, Shergar, Vaguely Noble.

(Taken from the Sportin Life)

16 Oct 2011 7:14 AM
A Horsey Canuck

A brilliant writer, writing about a brilliant trainer and a brilliant horse. No one else could have put these words into being but you Steve. You also bring out the eloquence of so many people. This is one brilliant blog; I thank you and everyone who commented for highlighting Frankel and his unforgettable namesake, Bobby. Can't wait to see "them" in the BC.

16 Oct 2011 7:38 AM

Maybe Frankel is winning so great because Bobby's spirit is whispering in his ears and talking baby talk to him.   I believe when you let an animal know it is loved and not just "used" like a machine it will in turn feel better and run better too.     They say Bobby sweet talked to his animals.  I say he is still doing it even in spirit.

16 Oct 2011 8:16 AM

My final take on it is dont question the racing gods and expecially Frankel.

16 Oct 2011 8:39 AM

Frankel has given us the hero we are looking for in racing.  Someone we can all cheer for.  We had Zenyatta, but there was so much unpleasantness with the Zenyatta vs. Rachel stuff.  

With Frankel there is just Frankel and I dream of him coming to the US Someday.

16 Oct 2011 8:53 AM

JerseyBoy- Racing Post gave him co-highweight ever since they started weighing horses.  Just a brilliant animal.

16 Oct 2011 9:06 AM

What a fine article Mr. Haskins.

Of Course  Mr.Frankel is "In on it'' with his namesake, FRANKEL.

Of Course the colt can run,and the DANZIG insures this,as well as other genetics.

All the great energy of Mr. Frankel had to go somewhere,and in a paralell universe,why not go with the colt named after him ?

The "DANZIGS" are some of the most intelligent and sensitive horses in the world today,so why wouldn't he (FRANKEL ) heed the messages of the man, Frankel, of course he would !

Mr. Frankel had the gift of the ability to love & love purely, & he gave this love to horses & animals.A love so great as to not be extinguished even in death. I believe like Mr. Frankel and some others , that love IS what makes the world go round & the power of love will bring you to the sumit of all of your dreams.

One day people may come to be as the horses have always been & also have this ''power of knowing' and they will be able to talk without words.

(For those who listen and believe.)

I get laughed at all the time, for making such statements, but am patient because I see that I am simply ahead of my time.

So FRANKEL, listen to Bobby,he was one of the best in every respect.

16 Oct 2011 10:37 AM
Linda in Texas

Sunny Farm - while reading your insightful post i wondered, who is writing what i think?

Almost thought i had let my real inner most feelings slip but when i got to the end. There was Sunny Farm.

Very nice and so true. I am not laughing at you at all. Thank you.

I know a lot of us think with our hearts and the living creatures which cross our paths know it when they hear us. And Frankel, no doubt, can hear sweet somethings coming from Mr. Frankel who has by now been elected, among his peers, The Chairman of The Board of The Racing Gods.

16 Oct 2011 11:03 AM
Ida Lee

Floored by Frankel? You and me both!!! I saw him race for the first time yesterday and all I can say is WOW, WOW AND DOUBLE WOW. He's something special alright even for a "foreigner". My loyalty is always with the home-bred but I ertainly make an exception for this extraordinary athlete.

16 Oct 2011 11:14 AM
Linda in Texas

Speaking of heart, i don't think Mr. Frankel or Frankel would mind if i say: If you all want to see a very nice race. Click on the video within the article written about Ultimate Eagle's Win on Bloodhorse.com. Watched this race yesterday but did not mention him. I have to today. Ultimate Eagle was destined as a 2 year old for The Kentucky Derby last year but developed Colic. He survived and has won his races this year. Please note the beautiful neck and shoulders on him and the muscle mass between his front legs/chest. He is a beautiful colt. And i must add, his grand sire was Cozzene whom for some reason or several, i admired greatly. Had Cozzene's lovely photo on my desktop for a year taken in the twilight of his years and the twilight of that day grazing in a paddock that had light snow sprinkled about him.

I love Santa Anita Park and said so yesterday. There are some tremendous horses that race in California. No sweeping Ultimate Eagle under a rug either. Good Luck connections. He is a looker and a winner.

16 Oct 2011 11:53 AM
Linda in Texas

And for the Handicappers, cannot forget them, i failed to mention that Ultimate Eagle was a 34-1 shot.

Thanks Steve.

16 Oct 2011 12:01 PM

Thank you, Steve.  Made me cry.  Everyone else who has commented, I can do no more than echo your sentiments exactly.  Well said.

16 Oct 2011 12:17 PM

My feelings exactly. I, however, am not a writer. It takes Steve Haskin to get it all down on paper!

16 Oct 2011 12:28 PM

Very nice story about Bobby.

Not "floored" by Frankel. Disagree with Timeform, Racing Post, and Cecil. Horse hasn't competed beyond 8f, and best he's beaten was a below par Canford Cliffs. Shouldn't yet be considered in the same breath as a Ribot or Dubai Millennium, and doubt he's as great as Mill Reef, Nijinsky II, etc., or even as great a miler as was The Tetrarch, Brigadier Gerard and some others.  

16 Oct 2011 12:55 PM
Karen in Texas

Frankel is scintillating to watch! He appears to just love to run--cruising with the field and then making a quarter-horse-like move to sprint to the finish. That ability is probably facilitated by his muscular build/body type. It will be interesting to see how this running style translates to longer distances if he is stretched out to 10 furlongs in the future.

16 Oct 2011 1:12 PM

Excellent Steve, you grace the pages of The Bloodhorse with you style.

16 Oct 2011 1:17 PM

If a horse can carry the spirit of a great man, then Bobby's is the one it should be. The sport lost someone very special when Bobby Frankel died. May his namesake carry his torch to the highest heights. And yes, this horse does indeed seem to be a freak of nature. Who better to carry Bobby's name?

16 Oct 2011 1:43 PM

While I believe Frankel is all that, and am delighted they honored Bobby Frankel with such an exceptional colt...I was quite unnerved by your reference to Seattle Slew.  

Sorry Steve, at 3 the Slew could win at 12f, something Frankel has never done...he's never even run 10f.  So the comparison is way off base...so it sort of rubbed me the wrong way...especially since I think SYT merits a closer comparison to the Slew than Frankel.

But then....I'm really, really touchy about my hero.

Gallileo is creating a dynasty as a sire.  I'm absolutely on pins and needles waiting to see what his half-brother Sea the Stars will produce.

16 Oct 2011 2:00 PM

A lovely story about a tribute of a namesake.  Hope we see Frankel race here next year!

16 Oct 2011 2:10 PM


I see the Racing Post was founded in 1986.

I do not know how far back the Racing Post Ratings go.

The Timeform All-Time Highweights list contains rankings for horses born during 1942.

So according to Timeform, Frankel is among the top four to race in nearly 70 years, in Europe.

16 Oct 2011 2:33 PM

Can I just take a minute to say, "Poor Bullet Train"?

A good horse used up to act as pacemaker for his 3/4 brother.  I wonder if Frankel even whinnied a "thanks" as he passed him?

I understand pace makers but I always am saddened when a perfectly fine animal is used up for the Crown Prince/Princess.

16 Oct 2011 2:42 PM
Rachel NH

Is 1:39 4/5 for 8F a decent time for a European grass Grade 1? Thanks.

16 Oct 2011 3:13 PM

Frankel - Great story by Steve.. yet no one wonders (None of the commenteers) about the Northern Dancer inbreeding 3to4, his dam Natalma and Buckpasser influence just te same and most probably some terrific Nicks unzapped and also a probable Heterosis on top? ... anyone vaguely agrees?

16 Oct 2011 3:17 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Slew the horse = Feisty. Slew the Blogger = Feisty (hold the tabasco sauce). I think my fondest memory is Bobby Frankel walking down the stairs from the stands to the winner's circle. Calm but with a proud energy to his walk and demeanor.

16 Oct 2011 4:14 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   I'm not laughing, but I'm smiling.

16 Oct 2011 4:24 PM
Steve Haskin

Thanks, everyone.

Slew, I was merely comparing the two horses in regard to overall brilliance. I dont compare race records of American and European horses or what stakes they won.

Rachel, the QE II was run on a straightaway, so its hard to compare times, but the Champion Stakes was run in a course record 2:02 2/5. Of course, Frankel didnt have to run nearly as hard as the first two in the Champion, where the winning jockey was fined and banned for overuse of the whip.

16 Oct 2011 5:18 PM

The comment about him running around the paddock cursing and finding something to complain about made me crack up.  The rest made me cry.  If that horse doesn't make an appearance in the states, even just to parade for all I care, it would be a crime.

16 Oct 2011 5:26 PM
Abigail Anderson

Well, Steve, as you would say, "This time you hit it right out of the ballpark!" This was the most inspirational and yet -- gotta say it -- feisty piece on Frankel & Robert Frankel I have ever read.

Of course Bobby's spirit is in Frankel the colt, no question. And the love & respect that led to this colt being named after Bobby kind of said it all to me....is there a greater honour than having a thoroughbred carry your legacy forward? Even if Frankel had been more average, it remains a beautiful tribute.

As for the Frankel-in-Frankel, it's like the Buddhists' say: Be kind to all living creatures. After all, in another life, your dog/cat/thoroughbred might have been your father or your mother.

Thank you for this outstanding text, Steve. It gave me a sense of hope and inspiration, while reminding me of the power of a great horse to stir the imagination.

16 Oct 2011 7:02 PM
Steve Haskin

Abigail, beautifully worded as usual. Thank you very much.

16 Oct 2011 7:46 PM
Bill Two

Jersey Boy, I don't think it's presumptious at all to compare Goldikova to Frankel.  Look at what she has accomplished compared to what Frankel has done so far.  She is without doubt one of the greatest milers we have ever seen. Frankel, indeed, may be better at this point, but we're never going to know whether he can compile a record like hers since he'll be whisked off to stud when {and if} he is beaten or takes a bad step.  No, Goldikova has put her mark on the breed and is not to be diminished in any way.  It will be a long time before you see her kind again.

16 Oct 2011 7:51 PM


16 Oct 2011 8:30 PM

JerseyBoy- Racing Post tied him with Dubai Millenium's World Cup race.  I look at all of the Euro rankings, Timeform, Racing Post, Globeform and the International World Rankings. They are all younger than Timeform.  When you look at all 4 you get a more well-rounded picture, I feel.   But Frankel is highly weighted regardless!

16 Oct 2011 11:49 PM

Bill Two:

I get your point of view. However, in horse-racing, greatness is not measured by quantity, but by quality.

The horses that beat Goldikova, could not warm up some of the greats, including Frankel.

Look at the Timeform All-Time Highweights list and you will see that many of the horses won fewer races than Goldikova. She is simply not good enough. She is ranked 14 lbs below Frankel. She could never match him, nor would she ever qualify for inclusion on the list.

There is a major difference between being very good and being great.

Frankel is an all-time great. Goldikova is very good.


16 Oct 2011 11:54 PM

Goldi owns and has earned her place in horseracing,you might be waiting for a long time before you ever see a mare with her tenacity,lets not forget who she has run against and for so long a career.I really like Frankel as well he's a very good looking racehorse and right now he might be better,but let us not forget the BC mile is the curtain closing for Goldi and Frankel has some racing to do in order to walk in her footsteps.

17 Oct 2011 9:19 AM

JerseyBoy- I agree 100% on the quality/quantity issue.  Take nothing away from Goldikova, but she has never been close to being in Zarkava's league and she is even farther away from Frankel.  But, she has been a brilliant, well-placed horse for all these years and runs her heart out everytime.  One thing I feel though is that she really steps up her game when she gets on American soil.  She seems to really love our courses.  I know just from glimpses of the Thoro-graph numbers that hers are much faster when she runs here.  Many other Euro's pair up or run a small top.  An interesting point, I asked Jerry what Zarkava's Arc number was.  He said it was a 1 and he said that is a very fast number for a 3 yr old turf filly.  Zarkava was the closest I've seen to Allez France, jmho.  Anyway, I love reading your posts and getting your views on the European scene.  Hope you had Sarah Lynx!

17 Oct 2011 9:42 AM
Rachel NH

Since I think that we are all unique creations with our own gift of life and spirit...I rather believe that they saw the talent and decided if they were going to name a horse after BF, this was a good one to take a chance on. ♥ (much more mundane, admittedly)

17 Oct 2011 10:08 AM
Rachel NH

Oops, I forgot to say "Thank-you" Steve, that helped me understand the time he ran a lot better!

17 Oct 2011 10:10 AM
Bill Two

Jersey Boy and Footlick, I understand your point and I certainly would like to see Frankel have a great season next year, but as datflippinrabbit argues I gotta see more from this horse before I'd say he's superior to Goldikova. Right now he is certainly brilliant, but on her best day I would hesitate to say he would have defeated her.  It's all subjective unless they actually competed against each other.

17 Oct 2011 11:30 AM


The hard thing about blogging about horses, is that some of us fall in love with horses and think one is being too unkind. But as a bettor I have become detached from all horses. I ignore their reputation and look at their records.

I looked at Sarah Lynx. I wanted to pull the trigger but she appeared too animated pre-race. I did not bet on her. However, I did have the exacta box in the Champion Stakes.

Goldikova has an outstanding record, but so do Zarkava, Dylan Thomas, So You Think, Galileo, Curlin etc, who did not make the Timeform All-Time Highweights List. Only the great ones make it.

I would like to say to all that if I appear too harsh, please know that it is not my intention to offend anyone.

17 Oct 2011 11:54 AM

JerseyBoy- not too harsh at all, but maybe because I agree with you-lol.  I put a bet down on Sarah Lynx but didn't see the race live.  I heard about her antics after the fact and probably would not have bet her if I saw that before placing the bet.  I was lucky for once.  Good for you in the Champion.  I thought Snow Fairy would turn the tables, but she got out too late unfortunately.  

17 Oct 2011 12:15 PM

Bill Two- On her best day I still don't think she would be close.  But that is just my opinion.  Frankel is in another class.  But then, that is the age-old argument, brilliance vs. longevity.  I think all you have to do is watch Frankel and know he is in a different league, even if he has only run 9 races.  The greatest horse Goldikova faced was Zarkava, imo, and Goldikova was not even close to her.  Otherwise, Paco Boy had been her most serious opposition, and he was a good horse, but not a world beater.  This year she has had stronger opposition: Canford Cliffs, Immortal Verse and Dream Ahead than in her 4 yr old and 5 yr old season, with the exception of maybe Makfi, who was very good when he was on.  I love her as a horse and a competitor, but it is her longevity that is her hallmark, and although it might make her a legend, it does not necessarily make her one of the all-time greats.  Remember it took her an extra year of racing to top Miesque's gr1 total, and an extra year to reach Miesque's Timeform rating.  It took her two extra years of racing for her to reach Zarkava's Timeform rating.  Both those horses, imo, are greater, but as Jersey Boy said, they are not among the all-time highweights.  It does not lessen what Goldikova has done, as well as Zarkava and Miesque, but for me puts it in perspective.

17 Oct 2011 12:30 PM

Frankel IS Frankel- we don't need to wonder how he got there; lets enjoy him and his contributions to the sport.

@ BillTwo-  in her prime, Goldikova and Frankel would have been a great race.  Now that she's six, her vulnerability is showing- and she probably is hearing her biological clock.  Cecil is doing what is right for this colt- he's due for a rest.  With Capo Blanco out, I would love to see Goldie get the win, but if Frankel were to be there I suspect she would not win.  For the moment, let's enjoy both these champions.

17 Oct 2011 12:57 PM
Bill Two

One more comment about Goldikova and how to measure greatness.  I would argue that one of the measures of greatness is the demonstrated ability to maintain excellent form over an extended period of time all the while competing and winning against the best horses in training at venues in Europe and the USA.  On this basis, Goldikova is certainly great.

17 Oct 2011 1:00 PM

@ Sceptre- Exactly WHY should Frankel go beyond eight furlongs??? His connections are obviously smart enough to realize this colt's strength, and if it's a mile, that takes nothing away from his accomplishments or greatness.  If only Repole were smart enogh to recognize that with Uncle Mo.... but he chooses, instead, to feed his ego.  Great horses are guided by great people.  If I have a true miler (Mo), the only things I'm risking by runing him longer are embarassment and INJURY.

17 Oct 2011 1:03 PM

I think it's awesome when any horse wins with such dominance and ease, but remember that sometimes they ship here and run miserably. Halling? Dancing Brave? I'm not hoping for that, but I still give Goldikova tons of credit for her worldwide assault and consistent performances. I guess I give her more credit than others on this blog. I wish they would run Frankel in the BC to see which champ would prevail.

17 Oct 2011 1:15 PM
Bill Two

Well said, Footlick.  I am very impressed with Frankel and just wonder at what this horse may accomplish if given the opportunity. His race on Saturday was certainly a tour-de-force and he really has no competition now. I just want to see if he can sustain his excellence.

17 Oct 2011 1:20 PM

Ahh Steve, all is forgiven.  I'm just extremely protective of the Slew's rep.

As far as the time for the QEII, remember these turf runs are undulating, and the last leg is all uphill...but Frankel flew over it without losing a step.

If there was ever a comparison I would like to have seen, it would be Frankel vs. Uncle Mo now, at 3 years old.  Now that would be a revelation and a more appropriate rivalry.

And to those who thought Goldikova might have lost a step, Dream Ahead won only by a head; both he and Goldie broke the stakes record.  7f was run in 1:18:10.  Last year Goldie won this race in 1:22:10 pummelling Paco Boy in the process.

17 Oct 2011 1:22 PM
The Deacon

Obviously Frankel is a talented horse, the sentiment surrounding his name is overwhelming. Bobby Frankel was one of a kind, brilliant trainer and very honorable man. Truly a throw back in the industry. He has been and will continue to be greatly missed.

As for the horse, I wouldn't go annointing him quite yet. Yes he is brilliant, has a incredible cruising speed but I would like to see how he does at 10 furlongs and longer.  To say he is better then  or equal to the likes of Sea the Stars, Ribot, Mill Reef, Sea Bird or Dubai Millenium remains to be seen. I would even throw in Allez France, Zarkova and Dahlia as all time greats across the pond.

Great blog Steve as usual but changing the subject what is your take on the Richard Dutrow issue?  Will you and Lenny address the subject on the next "ATO" segment.

A 10 year ban seems pretty excessive but I am sure there is more here then we know......

Winter Memories didn't fire, hope she is ok, she hung badly from 16th pole....

17 Oct 2011 1:57 PM

quite right footlick, goldikova is good, great even. and her turn of foot is what has always marked her out. her longevity is incredible. she has never run a stinker. but there's the rub. when she has been beaten in big races, she has usually been beaten by genuine group 1 horses. makfi, canford cliffs, dream ahead, zarkava. she has never been turned over by some rag. her limitations have been exposed despite her record. still wish her all the best for that 4th bc.  

as regards frankel, I am a reluctant convert. was never really impressed visially but you have to be I suppose. personally, I'm not entirely sure usa tracks would suit him but nothing more would surprise me now with frankel. people asking about the times of his races. no, they are not fast but when he beats goldikova's conquerer by over 7 lengths and goldikova manages ok in the us, I wouldn't be taking too much consolation from that.    

17 Oct 2011 5:21 PM


There is a reason fewer and fewer North American-breds are found among the Group One winners in Europe and that is that the great sires are no longer to be found here.  Europeans bought the best thirty years ago when the blood of Northern Dancer was available at Keeneland and Saratoga.  American speed and on turf?  Not!  Frankel's phenomenal speed on turf can be summed up in two words:  Northern Dancer.  The grandsire of Galileo and great-grandsire of Frankel's dam, Kind, is the reason for this great colt's success.  No mystery here.  The Europeans imported the best North America had to offer thirty years ago and nothing has come along since to equal it.

17 Oct 2011 5:22 PM

I have followed Frankel since his maiden voyage, and have been smitten with him since.

To me he is already that rare horse that transcends the boundaries imposed by borders and oceans.  

As I again watched him destroy his opponants I too wondered how this super star horse just happened to be named after Frankel. It's almost too good to be true isn't it?  And yes I do believe in divine intervention.

I can only hope and pray he comes back to race at 4 because I believe he has much more to show us.  

17 Oct 2011 5:50 PM
James Behan

I'll still fondly remember "super horse" Empire Maker coming up dead empty in the stretch of the Derby while that working class NY-bred brought it home.

I guess the slopfest Belmont was some measure of revenge but I always thought it was a little absurd how Frankel ended up being perceived as the underdog spoiler of that triple crown year. Funny Cide was the one who derailed the coronation that most predicted.

EM was the anointed one who was supposed to be the next TC winner. If you remember, Wrangler even built an ad campaign around his perceived greatness.

It was unbelievable how powerful Frankel's stable was in the early aughts, he seemed to have depth in every racing division. Ghostzapper vs. Frankel the horse would be one helluva match race.

17 Oct 2011 6:49 PM
Steve Haskin

Deacon, Dutrow is too long to go into here, but I'm sure we'll be discussing it on ATO.

17 Oct 2011 6:58 PM
Mary Zinke

May I share my introduction to Frankel back in May of this year, Mr.Haskin?  It was in a comment to me by a dear friend, and why Frankel's success is doubly special to me. The person who made this comment does not show emotion often, but his joy over the great colt Frankel shines through in these words:

"As for Frankel and Goldikova, I agree that would be the race to see and we might see it, Mary. They dont think Frankel is a 12 furlong horse, so that eliminates the BC turf, meaning we might see a match up between him and Goldikova in the BC Mile. But while I love Goldikova, and as you know I think she is the greatest female horse since Ruffian, I would take Frankel in that match up. Call me crazy Mary, but I think Frankel is the most special horse we have seen since Spectacular Bid. That's over Rachel, Zenyatta, Curlin, Cigar, Point Given, and Sea The Stars. I think Frankel is a brilliant horse and while I love Goldikova, I think Frankel has something that hasn't been seen since the Bid. Only time will tell but I would be very scared to put Goldikova against Frankel, especially considering her age.

But Mary, when you get a chance just look at Frankel's breeding. its unbelievable. he has the who's who of American and European racing in him. He has the bloodlines of Man o'war to War Admiral to Sadlers Wells to Danehill. I have never seen a horse with this kind of breeding. It's like a mini hall of fame."

So, thanks to my friend, I started to learn about Frankel, and I have seen this colt's greatness. Thanks, pal.  

17 Oct 2011 8:33 PM

PomDe Terre:

I beg to differ- If indeed Frankel is only "great" from say 6f-1M he should not be deemed as great a horse as those able to exert their "greatness" over a wider range of distances...That said, I am neither ready to call Frankel a "great" at 6f-1M, nor am I sure that he might not yet prove to be a great over longer distances (but I doubt he will).    

17 Oct 2011 8:55 PM

RamieF- I give her all the credit in the world.  But, Dancing Brave didn't acclimate here and was coming off a very competitive, tough Arc win.  As for Goldikova and Frankel meeting, The Sussex was there for her as Frankel's connections said where he was going to run well in advance.  After the Queen Anne, Mr Head seemed all for her running in it, then backed off the idea.  She ran in the Rothschild instead.  I didn't expect her to run in the QEII as it is so close to the BC.  As I said, I take nothing away from her, but imo her legend is her longevity, not necessarily her brilliance.

17 Oct 2011 8:57 PM

Deacon- I know that we all would have liked to see him stretch out this year, but Sir Henry knows his horse.  From the comments I've read he thought Frankel too headstrong and immature to stretch out as a three year old.  He is planning to stretch him out to 10 furlongs as a 4 yr old.  You have mentioned many of the all-time greats and many could stretch out.  But there are wuite a few milers on that list, so it is not always a pre-requesite.

17 Oct 2011 9:01 PM

sceptre-Tudor Minstrel-144: miler.  Star of India-138: sprinter.  Apalachee-137: sprinter/miler.  Dayjur-137: sprinter.  Mark of Esteem-137: miler.   Moorstyle-137: sprinter.  Zilzal-137: miler.  Many of the top weighted horses of all time did not run a distance of ground.  Not every horse will be as versatile as Brigadier Gerard or Dancing Brave who could do both.  As of now, Frankel is one of the most brilliant of milers.  He is being judged that by Europeans and he is a European horse.  Hopefully they will stretch him out next year to satisfy people who don't think that a miler can be considered one of the greats.  If he never stretches out, it still does not diminish his brilliance this year as he defeated three of the top milers this year with ease.

17 Oct 2011 10:42 PM

By the way- I just wanted to say hi to Mary!  Hope you had a good betting weekend.

17 Oct 2011 10:43 PM
Greg R

I think Yukon hit it concerning current superiority of Euro grass horses. Of course it wasn't just Northern Dancer and his progeny that boosted their bloodlines, but that was a major factor.  So many of their most outstanding runners were either born in KY or their sires/dams/grandsires/granddams were born in KY or elsewhere in North America because of Robert Sangster and the Arabs outbidding everybody in the '80's, especially, and later Magnier/Tabor.  On the other hand, thoroughbred racing has become so internationalized just in my adult lifetime, it's close to being all one industry/game globally, anyway.  We're nearly as excited about and proud of Frankel, Goldikova, etc., as they are over there.  National chauvinism is becoming a thing of the past in racing.

That said, I still think Frankel might have been vulnerable racing left-handed and with the traffic trouble potential of two turns had he run in BC.  Goldie thrives on it.

17 Oct 2011 10:49 PM
Paula Higgins

ITA with Footlick hat Zarkava was in a class by herself. A jaw dropping horse if ever there was one. Deacon, I think 10 years is excessive for Rick Dutrow as well. I don't like it when someone's livelyhood is taken away by a governing body for that length of time. It seems extreme to me. I would like to know how they arrived at that penalty. Why not 2 years instead of 5 years? Yes, I know he has had numerous infractions/violations, even as recently as February. I just seems Draconian to me. But Dutrow has himself to blame for this also. A very sad situation.

18 Oct 2011 12:02 AM

Wayne Gretzky couldnt dunk a basketball for shhhh.....joe frazier couldnt swim a lap in a pool.........you people AMAZE ME!!!!

18 Oct 2011 12:41 AM

Mr. Haskin,

Thank you for writing such a beautiful tribute to Bobby Frankel and the tremendous colt who was named in his honor.  I long admired this wonderful trainer with the rough exterior but the heart of gold for his close friends and animals, both equine and canine. One of my most treasured photos is of him standing behind the rail with his Australian Shepherd, Happy, sitting alongside him as they watched the morning workouts.  The day of the BC, when he wasn't there to watch Ginger Punch run because he needed to stay with his dying Happy, I cried for him.  Knowing many would never understand how much that beautiful dog meant to him.

RIP, Mr. Frankel, and I hope you are able to see how Juddmonte has done you the perfect tribute in naming this colt in your honor.  

18 Oct 2011 2:07 AM
200 lb. Jockey

As a huge Black Caviar fan, I was a little irked when Frankel took over the #1 spot in the world rankings. After watching a few of his races, I can understand to a degree. He is a great colt with a devastating turn of foot. As for Black Caviar, we have yet to see the best of this mare. Trust me, they have yet to get anywhere near the bottom of her, she wins so easily that they haven't had to. I think she gets knocked because she has yet to run outside of Australia, which means nothing to me. Australia is STACKED with equine talent and racing is the third largest spectator sport there. Aussie's have horse blood in their veins. The European bias in the rankings is unfounded and I'm glad Peter Moody and Black Caviar's connections are sending her to Ascot next year. Frankel is amazing, but I look forward to Black Caviar and Australia reclaiming the #1 ranking and getting the respect they deserve. If Frankel and Black Caviar meet in a sprint at Ascot, you better believe I'll be on a plane to England. That would be an historic event too good to miss.

18 Oct 2011 2:33 AM
The Deacon

Footlik:  I don't necessarily agree or disagree but time will tell but my particular list was not made up of milers. You think Dahlia, Allez France, Sea the Stars and Dubai Millimium were milers, I respectfully beg to differ. Ribot won the Arc twice by 3 lengths and 6 lengths. He won the King George, was 16 for 16 in his career. Mill Reef by Never Bend, grandsire the legendary Nasrullah also won the Arc, Epsom Derby and the King George. Dubai Millinnium by Seeking the Gold, grandsire Mr. Prospector ran 4 times at a mile and 5 times at 10 furlongs and once at 12 furlongs, won 9 of 10 races. Zarkava also won the Arc beating colts. Sea Bird won the Arc and Epsom Derby, grandsire Northern Dancer (the greatest sire ever).

So the horses I named were not milers as you stated. I have been in racing for 56 years, I know my history and I started watching in 1955. The first race I ever saw was the Santa Anita Derby, watched Swaps win it. No disrespect intended but I try and do my homework before I write a blog......best wishes  

18 Oct 2011 3:00 AM

Funny, but if we made distance a requirement for greatness, the greatest horses on the list would be Alycidon, Arbar, Le Moss and Souverain. They won at 2.5 miles, one mile longer than Sea Bird's longest.

18 Oct 2011 6:32 AM
Don from PA/DE

Brillian, the horse "Frankel" and your writing about the superstars both horse and man. Thanks so much

18 Oct 2011 6:55 AM

Deacon- I apologize if my post was not clear.  I was not commenting on the horses you listed, as obviously they were not milers, but on the all-time greats as ranked by Timeform.  When I said there were quite a few milers, I was referring to the Timeform All-Time highweight list, not your list.  I reread my post, and I can see how you took it the way you did.  If you read my post directed to sceptre, I list the horses through 137lbs who are ranked and are sprinter/milers.  I have followed European racing exensively and I do know what the horses you listed accomplished.  Allez France is an special favorite of mine.  I apologize for the way I worded my post so that I was not clear and you felt I was challenging your knowledge.  It was not my intention.

18 Oct 2011 9:01 AM
Bill Two

Paula, I think that it became personal between Dutrow and the NY racing authorities.  He's been showing his contempt for their authority for years and they just had enough. They needed a poster boy to show the world they are serious about enforcing the rules of the sport as they exist in NY. He fit the profile and then som.

18 Oct 2011 9:22 AM

I'll give this another try-

Footlick (and some others):

Please realize that those Timeform (theoretical weights) are assigned within a narrow distance range. They are a hierarchal assignment within just those respective distances, and are inherently less than objective-Apalachee's weighting, for one, makes that rather clear. In the end, we're really debating the meaning of "greatness" and/or the degree of accomplishment required to be considered great, or the greatest, or near-greatest. Consider for example a Dr. Fager. Had he not shown his prowess beyond say 7f, would any of you look upon him now with the same degree of admiration?...KY VET- your implied analogy somewhat misses the mark. What might be the criteria necessary for determining a "greatest athlete" would seem far broader than that required for determining a greatest racehorse, greatest boxer, greatest hockey player, etc.    

18 Oct 2011 10:23 AM

sceptre- I understand that they are theoretical, as is the Experimental highweight and speed figures.  I wasn't around for Apalachee so I can't comment on him other than he won 4 of 5 races and was third in the 2000.  Possibly he was injured in the race and I am assuming his ranking was given for his two year old season.  Someone must have considered him an exceptional thoroughbred.  Speed figures are not scientifically accurate.  There is alot of subjectivity involved in those also.  We, in this country, do not consider a sprinter great, I guess.  So Dayjur would never have been able to be called great, even though he was.  If your criteria is that a horse has to run 10, 11 or 12 furlongs to be great then that is fine and it is your criteria.  But there may be different criteria elsewhere.  I guess Black Caviar would not be considered great either by your criteria, being a sprinter.  And that is fine.  To each his own.  I feel a sprinter can be a great horse as well as a distance horse.  Have a great day.

18 Oct 2011 12:34 PM

My point is ....these horses are great at what they do....who said the best run a mile and a half? or 6 furlongs? or 2 furlongs....fastest horse can mean greatness....fastest horse i ever saw, was a horse most havent heard of....CHINOOK PASS! If 2 furlongs were the standard.....ive seen him get completly left last, and get up to leaders in 20 4/5 laffit says to this day he was fastest horse he has ever seen.....these horses are great in their own way

18 Oct 2011 12:37 PM
Bill Two

So what all of this amounts to is there are different ways to measure greatness. Everyone agree?

18 Oct 2011 3:59 PM

Thanks for the wonderful article.

I'm wondering if he comes to the Breeders Cup in 2012, would he also be visiting a special young lady at Lane's End?

Mike Smith said that no stallion was good enough for Zenyatta.  Well here is Frankel pocessing the spirit of Bobby Frankel,who was John and Dotty Sherriffs close associate. I wonder if Judmonte and the Mosses can work out a special breeding arrangement while he is the US next year?

Such an arrangement would only be possible with a mare like Zenyatta.

18 Oct 2011 4:32 PM
The Deacon

Footlick:  Apology accepted.......

The problem with rating agencies such as Timeform they tend to be somewhat bias. Just look at the whole BCS college football fiasco. I happen to believe much of this is politics. I have always looked at performances rather then ratings. All ratings do is give grown-ups a reason to argue about their favorite horse or football team that was left off the list.

There has been so great Euro runners this past 50 years it would be next to impossible to determine who was the best. My dad who passed away a couple years ago age 95 told me many times that he thought Ribot was the best Euro runner he ever saw. A case could be made for Nijinsky II, All Along, Vaguely Noble or Alleged as well.

Frankel has the potential to be really great if the connections let him. He looks unbeatable at a mile, no arguement but why don't they turn him loose and see what he can really do. Because they know that a mile is his best distance. If you look at the Arc de Triomphe I would say over 50% of the winners were 3 year olds. Age isn't the issue, seasoning isn't the issue, stamina is.

Henry Cecil to his credit knows his horse, nothing wrong with being on the list of greatest milers ever. Goldikova, Miesque among others occupy that list.

Paula Higgins:  I agree 10 years is excessive for Mr. Dutrow, I think this got personal. My question would be if he were able to keep his trainers license in a few states could he run a horse in New York, Calif or Kentucky under the name of an assistent trainer.  

18 Oct 2011 4:37 PM

@KY Vet

yes chinook was fast, but, he had coyotero forcing the issue and to some extent I think haitanga too.

But, the best are the ones who can carry their speed to a greater distance that is why in general longer distance races have a larger purse.

I know the topic here is Frankel, but, is no one discussing the excess fine that joc got in the same race card.

18 Oct 2011 5:46 PM

Just another great piece of writing about a fabulous horse and his spirit trainer.  I hope we get to see Frankel race in the U.S. at some point in his career.  I watched all I could fine on You Tube.

18 Oct 2011 7:01 PM

The following extract was taken from Wikipedia. It is about a horse who never raced beyond 6 furlongs. Maybe it will help.

"The United Kingdom's National Horseracing Museum called The Tetrarch a "phenomenon" and report that he was voted Britain's two-year-old of his century... In their description of the colt, the National Sporting Library's Thoroughbred Heritage website in the United States calls The Tetrarch "probably the greatest two-year-old of all time" and "possibly the greatest runner ever".

18 Oct 2011 7:05 PM

It's odd.  Everyone does have a different measure of greatness.  Mine is consistency. Citation.. a Triple Crown and a record of 27 for 29 with 2 seconds.  Wow!  Plus he's the horse who suckered me into this beautiful sport.

Kelso, 5 time horse of the year, who had as much attitude as he had talent.

Danedream won the Arc.  She's a 12f horse.  She has 4 out of 5 wins this year, 1 out of 5 last year.  Do you consider her greater than the shorter distanced Frankel who is 9 wins in 9 races?  I doubt it. So distance is not really the measure of greatness.

Jack Odom: Black Caviar is already considered the greatest sprinter in the world.  I wish she would come to the USA.  I'd love to see her here.  I watched her return for the season. 14 for 14.  She has greatness stamped on her, and it has nothing to do with distance.

I think greatness is a perceived quality that cannot be quantified by distance or times or timeform ratings.  We're attached to Frankel because of his name.  We're amazed by Frankel with the ease with which he wins.  We look to the future when the word "great"

may be most appropriate.

(and you already know my boy remains So You Think. I happen to think he's great.)

18 Oct 2011 7:31 PM


you left out an important line of that article:

It is also noted that the 1913 crop of two-year-olds was less than spectacular.

18 Oct 2011 7:44 PM

Bill Two- I agree.  One is not more valid than another.

JerseyBoy- The Tetrarch is still considered by many the greatest thoroughbred that ever stepped on a track.  I should qualify that statement by saying European thoroughbred scholars.

18 Oct 2011 7:46 PM
Karen in Texas

Bill Two----Yes, totally agree with your 3:59 P.M. comment! What a (logical) concept! It needs to be applied to some of the nonsensical stuff on several other blogs as well.

18 Oct 2011 7:53 PM

The Deacon- I also believe that Ribot was the greatest thoroughbred ever.  He never met a horse who could test him.  But I do not base that on the distances he ran as much as how he won. You believe Frankel needed to be challenged distance-wise.  Cecil has said more than once that the horse needed to mature and grow up mentally before he would consider stretching him out, which they are hoping to do next year. I'd rather see the horse not stretch out if he is not ready.  But, we all have our criteria and that is why we all have opinions.  That is what keeps the blogs going.

18 Oct 2011 7:55 PM
Needler in Virginia

Steve, with apologies, I can't let this one go unanswered:

Paula, do you really think 10 years is too much for anyone with 64+ various violations and an attitude that reeks arrogance? Does racing really need Dutrow as a representative right now (or EVER)?  Will yet another slap on the wrist make him behave? The faster racing can shed itself of these trainers who violate rules with impunity and when they get caught say "doh, I NEVER knew about THAT" the faster racing can change the public perception of what is and what it is not. The time is fast approaching when another governing body will take the reins out of the hands of those who SHOULD be fixing racing, and I guarantee, we will all hate the results.

Again, I apologize, Steve. All I wanted to do was congratulate you on your appearance in ESPN's CHARISMATIC. You were, as always, adorable and lucid and eloquent and I saw the sadness in your eyes when you talked about Chris on the morning of the '99 Belmont. I just watched it and dammit, the same story broke my heart all over again.....talk about losing on an instant replay...AAARRRGGGHHH I really ought to know better by now, but when lightning in a bottle presents itself, you simply MUST watch it, and the way this lightning bolt ended really stinks........STILL!

Thanks, Steve, for the words; you are incomparable.

Cheers and safe trips.

18 Oct 2011 9:33 PM
Paula Higgins

Bill Two and Deacon, we agree about Rick Dutrow. I also agree with you Bill Two that there are many different ways to determine the greatness of a horse.

18 Oct 2011 9:40 PM
The Deacon

Footlick, basically we are saying the same thing only in a different way. I consider Frankel a great miler.  Until he proves himself at the classic distance he will not be in the same class as those mentioned. This is my criteria and I am ok with that. Your criteria may be different, and I am ok with that to. Every human being on the planet is entitled to an opinion.

I can only tell you that I have seen pretty much all of the great ones run since 1955 and Frankel is not anywhere on that list. Does he have great potential, of course, is he brilliant at a mile, again of course, does his name ring out sentimentality, yes, yes, yes.

Cecil can say and do what he wants, it's his horse and his perogative to do so. Regardless of reason, Frankel needs to win 1 or 2 of Europe's classic races to be considered in the conversation of Ribot, Sea Bird, Sea the Stars, Zarkava, Allez France, Dahlia and a few more.

19 Oct 2011 1:33 AM


You have done it again.

You have launched one of the best blogs ever. It is great to see people give their views of the best.

For me the best ever, anywhere, is one of the least mentioned these days. He is Vaguely Noble.

For those who wonder why I say this, just look at his ARC win and his Observer Gold Cup win. He crushed the field. The ARC runner-up was Epsom Derby winner Sir Ivor, the Horse of the Year and an all-time great himself. After the ARC, Sir Ivor won the DC International.

Vaguely Noble was an excellent sire. However, he was not a sire-of-sires. Too bad.

19 Oct 2011 7:26 AM
Bill Two

That was a very moving documentary on ESPN last night re Charismatic and Chris Antley.  I just wish that D Wayne had participated since we all would love to hear his side of it. I can understand how he felt let down by Chris as his demons took hold of him.  Why Chris put him up on the lead only he could answer. Lots of unanswered questions. You did yourself proud with your appearance in the film.  Good work.

19 Oct 2011 8:43 AM

My husband and I hold very different political views so, a few elections back, I kept telling him I was going to vote for Bobby Frankel as a write-in.  Look at the skills the man had: a Brooklyn Jew training for a Sheik, dealing with people from all over the world with wildly different backgrounds and income levels, handling a training stable of horses worth who-knows-how-much.  He was tough but he also knew how to be kind.  He got things done.  And, most impressive, he was magic with thorougbred fillies, the divas of the horse world!  :-) If he can handle them, I am pretty sure he could deal with congress as well.  :-)  

I have been following Frankel (the horse) since the beginning and I do believe if Bobby Frankel is not in there, he is talking to the horse at night, serving as an extra trainer.  

19 Oct 2011 1:25 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Just exactly how does that reincarnation stuff work anyway? Does anyone know? If you want to be a horse when you die, can you choose the horse? Can you choose the horse that's named after you and take over and will him to win everytime? As far as Dutrow is concerned, what I don't get is why the 63rd infraction is no big deal but the 64th is "64 strikes and you're out." When did they come up with that rule? My primary focus is that animals be treated right and with as little medication as possible but to me ten years seems excessive. Why not five years? Or three years? Does it take ten years to learn a lesson? Is it really fair to get ten years to send others a message? Why not warn others in writing and orally rather than making Dutrow be the message? As much as Dutrow has infuriated me in the past, he has also been a breath of fresh air at times and seems to be a decent guy who has had to deal with a lot in his life, and I think he could learn his leasson in two to five years much better than ten. With ten it seems they are saying, "find something else to do, we don't want you back." And that's Ok if it would have been done incrementally fair but all of a sudden to get ten years for something he got two months or less in the past isn't fair to me.

19 Oct 2011 3:25 PM

this blog is great. all the talk of the great european and world horses down the ages. some of the people's knowledge on here is incredible. frankel is nowhere near the greatest horses yet. I agree with some that he has to try 10 furlongs. he has so far proved himself better than this year's competition over a mile. one thing I will say about my opinion on frankel is that it is coloured by my prejudice against front runners. I always think in europe if you are on a horse that you know is so much better than all the rest, why blaze off in front. easy tiger, no need for all that.

as for the all time greats, it is difficult. is it based on the ease of victory or on the number of top victories against all comers? certainly, timeform have a lot of horses up there with just one wide-margin victory like hawk wing. I would defo put ribot in there, mill reef, sea the stars, dayjur, miesque, others of course. frankel not yet.    

19 Oct 2011 5:25 PM
The Deacon

Dr D:  Well said, my sentiments exactly. This looks like a witch hunt to me. I kind of liked Dutrow for the most part, he is kind of quirky but who isn't to some degree. Ten years is excessive, decisions like this is what drives fans away from the game. If the NY Racing Assoc is without sin then they can cast the first stone.......amen.

Vince.......excellent, totally agree.

19 Oct 2011 8:32 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

The Deacon

   Thanks. I've been reading your excellent, informative and respectful posts. Nice blog, isn't it. Jery West has an autobiography coming out. In my top four favorite all time athletes. My heart broke with him many times in the 60's. My teams were the Lakers, 49ers, and Giants back then so it was a very tough decade.

19 Oct 2011 10:47 PM

Interesting the horse has been the top ranked Euro since his 2000 Guineas win and improved his weight ranking in the Sussex and then again in the QEII, and yet people act like he has beaten nothing.  He has struck out front and laid just off the pace and laid back farther, and has always, with the exception of his off race in the St James, which he still won by the way, separated himself from the rest, which include Canford Cliffs, Excelebration, Immortal Verse, Dream Ahead, Strong Suit, etc.  Think what you want, the horse is exceptional.

19 Oct 2011 10:55 PM

And we could put Hawk Wing in perspective.  A seemingly in and out horse, when he ran his race was devastating.  At two he won two of three.  His loss was to Rock of Gibraltar.  He won the National in an all ages record time as a two year old.  At three he finished second to Rock of Gibratar while running on the side of the straight that the ground was not as fast as Rock of Gibraltar was on and finished second by a neck while closing furiously.  He also  finished second to High Chaparral in the Epsom Derby, both were 12 lengths clear of the rest of the field.  He also won the Eclipse and finished second to Grandera in the Irish Champions.  At four he annihilated a strong field of top milers in the Lockinge, where he achieved his top ranking.  He was a little better than being called a horse with one large margin victory, intimating that is all the horse did in his career.  He was not the most consistent, but he ran more than one race that was top class, imo, and should be credited for it.

19 Oct 2011 11:28 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

The Deacon

    When I was in high school I decided one night to see if I could buy alcohol at a liquor store so I walked in, grabbed something like I knew what I was doing and they sold it to me. I was shocked but thrilled. Now I could buy beer for me and my friends on Friday night. So Friday night comes and I tell my friends that I was going to buy us some beer. Of course they didn't believe me. So I walk into the same store and the same clerk is there and I grab the beer and put it on the counter, and he says, "get the hell out of here, you're not 21. And don't ever try it again either."  So I had to go back to my friends with my tail between my legs, and of course they were laughing and never believed that I had bought alcohol there before which was the worst part of it. What happened between the first time I bought there and the next time when I was banned forever it seemed. I know I never showed my face in there again anyway.

19 Oct 2011 11:33 PM

Sorry to step in with a "now, now" comment ....but.... whoever implied that The Tetrarch wasn't such a big deal because in his time there weren't so many 2YO's needs to remember one BIG thing:  almost 100 years later, we are STILL talking about him being thought of as great -- even if only at short distances.  And then he has to go and sire Mumtaz Mahal and become an important peg in Nasrullah's pedigree and even, fergawdsakes, become THE link for keeping the colour gray in thoroughbred pedigrees today.

He is too still great ... so there!

Re: Dutrow: how come it took so long?

20 Oct 2011 10:02 AM
The Deacon

Dr D: Looks like you may have gotten set up by the liquor store. ha ha.

Jerry West was also my favorite player growing up, my youth was spent in sunny So Cal, I played  high school basketball in the South Bay area. In the summer the Lakers with West, Leroy Ellis, Rudy LaRusso, among others would hold basketball camps. I got to meet my idol and play basketball alongside of him, even if it was for only a day or two. My dad was involved with racing, knew a few trainers so I spent a lot of summers at Santa Anita, Hollywood Park and Del Mar, fun times.

My dad would travel around and he would take me to many different tracks around the country, got to see so many of the great horses of yesteryear run. I was blessed with a good memory and I always wanted to own my own horses so I learned about bloodlines and such. Life took a different turn but I still follow my horse racing passion....for most of us, long ago in a galaxy far far away.......:)  

20 Oct 2011 12:21 PM

footlick, and hawk wing is rated higher than all those horses that beat him. why? because he trounced a field one time in ideal conditions. like I said, timeform are obsessed with cherry picking horse's form and taking even one wide-margin victory. he was devastating once, in the wekest G1 race of the celandar. no way he deserves that mark  

20 Oct 2011 12:26 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

The Deacon

   Lucky you !!! You can't ask for more than that. I did get to see West and Baylor and crew play live but never got to meet any. I don't even think I have any active heroes in sports other than a lot of horses and a few jockeys. It's more about memories in that far off galaxy for most sports now.

20 Oct 2011 2:37 PM

All I pointed out was that Hawk Wing did a little more than you intimated.  You can think what you want of the horse and of Timeform.  And read about Hawk Wing's Lockinge.  It was far from the weakest gr1 on the calendar.  If you don't like the horse, fine.  Just be objective.

20 Oct 2011 5:55 PM

"He was kept in training at four years old, when he produced one of the outstanding performances over a mile of recent times. A field of six ran in the 2003 Group One Lockinge Stakes at Newbury, including: Where Or When, who had beaten Hawk Wing in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes; Olden Times, winner of the Group One Prix Jean Prat; Domedriver, who had inflicted Rock Of Gibraltar's first defeat in eight Group One races in the Breeders' Cup Mile; Reel Buddy (priced at 50-1 despite having been placed in the Group One Sussex Stakes - an indication of the quality of the field); and Celebration Mile winner Tillerman. Hawk Wing was simply awesome, beating a Group One field by 11 lengths, with second place Where Or When eight lengths clear of Olden Times in third."

20 Oct 2011 5:58 PM

let's just agree to differ on hawk wing footlick. nobody can have any definitive opinion on horse racing, that's what makes it so interesting. all the best.

21 Oct 2011 1:50 AM

Why "put" Frankel on the lead?

Frankel wants to be there. The horse is not a robot.

Some horse can be persuaded that "zoom past the other horses" is a fun game, but some come out of their herd days as yearlings with an intractable belief that the best game is "eat my dust." Or sometimes they are taught it by their dams.

If they won't relax behind other horses, they might as well expend their energy building a lead as quarreling with their rider. It's dicey interfering with horses' ideas of how to display dominance. You might teach them that the whole idea is wrong, not just the style that comes naturally to them.

30 Oct 2011 2:03 AM

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