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Breeders Cup 2015

Ascanio Still Recovering from Stroke

Bobby Frankel and Humberto Ascanio were polar opposites in personality. Frankel was irascible, brash, blunt and confrontational. Ascanio is out of the Dale Carnegie school. Once when a reporter asked Frankel the name of an owner of one of his horses, he barked, “Gann!”

When a reporter lost his cell phone on the Hollywood Park backstretch one morning, Ascanio got up from his seat in the tack room, calmly walked a hundred yards to the nearest security guard, and asked in Spanish if he had seen a cell phone.

A short time later, the reporter had the phone.

Frankel died at the age of 68 on Nov. 16, 2009, leaving his assistant of more than three decades Ascanio to fend for himself. Ascanio, now 65, had modest success with a small string of horses of his own after Frankel’s passing, but has been recovering from a stroke since Dec. 30, 2011. It’s been a long climb back but Ascanio won’t fail for lack of effort.

“I lost movement on the right side of my body, so I had to disband my 12-horse stable,” Ascanio said by phone from his home in Arcadia. “Progress is slow, but I’m doing pretty good now. Thank God it’s not real bad. I’m doing therapy twice a week at my home.

“It’s been tough psychologically, but I’m going to fight it to try and get better. My goal is to get back to training. I miss everybody. I’ve spent all my life at the track and I want to return.”



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