Trainer Humberto Ascanio

Trainer Humberto Ascanio

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Grateful Ascanio Moves On Without Frankel

In spite of loss of central client Juddmonte, longtime assistant says he's fine.

(from Santa Anita notes)

Trainer Humberto Ascanio says he'll push on in 2010 without his longtime mentor and friend, Hall of Fame member Bobby Frankel, even with the loss of the barn's blue-blood horses from its central client, Juddmonte Farms.  

Juddmonte recently announced that it will send the majority of its U.S. horses to Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. Ascanio, though, had nothing but praise for the intercontinental racing and breeding giant.

“I still have about 10 horses,” Ascanio, 63, said from his Hollywood Park base. “I’m OK; I’m fine, I’m happy. Juddmonte has been real good to me. I can’t complain. In fact, next month they’re going to send me Midships, who I won three stakes with (including the grade II San Juan Capistrano last April).

“Juddmonte has been wonderful over the years and they’ve really helped me. They’re real fine people. I couldn’t ask for any more," Ascanio added. "They helped me through the end of the year, and I understand their moving some horses elsewhere. But like I say, they’re sending me Midships, and hopefully, that will open the door for them to send me more.

“I know I won’t have the same kind of horses as before, but I’m confident everything will be all right. I have a couple of nice horses and still have some other owners who are supporting me.”

Frankel died Nov. 16 of leukemia at the age of 68. Ascanio, his confidante and assistant for 36 years, was directing the barn's West Coast activities while Frankel was ill and enjoyed success during Hollywood Park's Turf Festival last month. Wins in the Citation (gr. IT) with Fluke, the Matriarch (gr. IT) with Juddmonte's Ventura and the Native Diver (gr. III) with Mast Track helped make him the fall meet's trainer of the meet in a vote of the media, which has also recognized Ascanio for his understated contributions to Frankel over the years. 

“I’m real appreciative of that,” Ascanio said. “They’ve given me a great vote of confidence and I thank them very much.”

Among Frankel's many records are his all-time best 917 career victories at Santa Anita.