Humberto Ascanio

Humberto Ascanio

Benoit Photography

Ascanio Gets Lots of Visitors After Stroke

Bobby Frankel's popular former assistant was stricken Jan. 3.

Recovering from a stroke suffered Jan. 3, trainer Humberto Ascanio’s room at Arcadia Methodist Hospital has seen a near-constant stream of well-wishers.

That’s a tribute to the popularity of the 64-year-old Ascanio, long-time assistant to the late Bobby Frankel. Visitors are coming in droves. Take it from Jimmy "The Hat" Allard, a Runyonesque race tracker who describes himself as “a professional horse player.”

“He’s in good spirits and he’s one of the sweetest, nicest guys that ever walked on to a race track,” said Allard, who visited Ascanio at the hospital’s rehab facility on the evening of Jan. 6. “When I walked in to visit him, the nurse said, ‘My God, this guy’s popular. I can’t believe how many visitors he has.’ And when I walked in his room it was full of people."

Allard told Ascanio if he can deal with Frankel for 37 years, "you can deal with this. It won’t be a big deal. I got a little bit of a chuckle out of him, so I was glad I went over and saw him. I love the man, I respect him and he’s one of the great horsemen in our country. He has incredible compassion for the horses."

Since going on his own in 2009 following Frankel's death, Ascanio has compiled a 15-24-16 record from 103 starters with earnings of $1,490,047.

“Obviously it’s going to be a long road in terms of any kind of full recovery, but his mental faculties are fine,” Allard said of Ascanio. “I spoke with him; he’s alert, sharp, can speak, but there’s definitely some paralysis and unfortunately he’s going to have a long road ahead of him in terms of rehabilitation.

“I just pray to God that he can come back good enough so that he can be out around the horses, which has been his entire life. That’s probably the best rehab he can get. Everybody’s praying for him, so he’ll be all right. He’ll come back.”