Everybody has a Bobby Frankel story, and Jim Cassidy is no exception. The 68-year-old New York City native took the occasion of Sunday’s Robert J. Frankel Stakes, named for the Hall of Fame trainer who died in 2009, to tell this tale:
“It was a Grade II race (the 2004 Santa Ana Handicap) at Santa Anita, and Megahertz was in it,” Cassidy recalled. “I’m at Clockers’ Corner and Brad Free (of Daily Racing Form) walks up and asks me if I’m running in the race. I say, ‘Yeah.’
“He says, ‘You know, Megahertz is running in it.’ I say, ‘I ain’t worried about Megahertz. You gotta worry about me.’ Just like that. I’m just messin’ with him, right? Next day, the Form comes out, and the headline says, ‘TRAINER SAYS KATDOGAWN HORSE TO BEAT.’
“(Victor) Espinoza’s riding Frankel’s horse, and Mike Smith was on mine. So Brad says, ‘Man, oh man, oh man.’ I says, ‘What happened?’ He says, ‘Frankel just went off on you.’ I says, ‘What are you talking about?’
“’Frankel said is this guy stupid, or what? He must be from Jersey or Brooklyn, not the Bronx. He’s an idiot. He’s not going to beat my mare.’
“So anyway, they run the race and I’m on the inside and Megahertz is on the outside. She comes running on the outside, takes out the whole field, then drops in and beats me a length.
“The stewards take her number down and they put me up. Afterwards, Frankel tried to make it like I didn’t win it because I was moved up on a DQ. I said, ‘Look, I said I’d win it. I didn’t say how I’d win it.’”DIETERS TAKE WEIGHT AND SEE APPROACH IN CONTEST
It has nothing to do with a New Year’s resolution, but agent Scotty McClellan and the Racing Department’s Tora Yamaguchi are in an avoirdupois adventure to see who can lose the most weight before Jan. 1.
Not that either is what anyone would call obese, each weighing well under 200 pounds before going into their, um, battle of the bulge.
“We’re always kidding each other,” McClellan said, explaining how it began. “We decided to bet on who could lose the most weight. We both got on the jockeys’ scale at the winner’s circle, and he weighed exactly 175 and I was 179, but if I had taken off my shoes and clothes, I would have been 175.
"Anyway, we started at 175 to 179. I tried different things at first and wasn’t losing too much, but now I’ve got a regimen. I’ve eaten more vegetables than I’ve probably eaten in my life.
“As time passed, the weight’s started to come off. From Nov. 30, I didn’t have anymore beer, wine or booze of any kind, so since then, it’s dropped considerably.
“Now, it’s nearing the deadline and I’m in the ballpark. But Tora’s been working out more than I have, although I work out, too. But it’s hard, and he tries to sabotage me. He calls me all the time, tempting me, asking me if I want a juicy hamburger or a cold beer.
“The loser agreed to have his head shaved, not completely bald, but very short, and then also wash and wax the winner’s car. I’ve got a Honda CRV and he’s got Honda Accord.
“So after January 1, if you see one of us with a shiny car, you’ll know who won.”
Yamaguchi, meanwhile, has thrown down the gauntlet.
“On Dec. 31,” he said, “I’m going off-roading and getting my car as dirty as possible. I’ve got him right where I want him.”SHOWVIVOR RETURNS TODAY, BETTER THAN EVER
Santa Anita’s popular free online “Showvivor” is back today and better than ever, with a total of $10,000 in prize money highlighted by a $5,000 top prize to be awarded to the longest “show streak” achieved throughout Santa Anita’s Winter and Spring Meetings, which conclude June 29.
As in year’s past, “Showvivor” participants are required to select one horse from one race each racing day, and that horse must finish no worse than third in order for the player to “showvive.”
This season, if a player’s horse does not finish in the money, he or she can start up a new streak the very next day. The player with the longest “show streak” on closing day, Sunday, June 29, will be declared the winner of $5,000.
For the first time ever, the longest “show streak” is only one of the five separate ways to win beginning Dec. 26:SHOW STREAK
--The player who has the longest “show” or no-worse than third-place finish streak at the end of the meet will win the Grand Prize of $5,000. Players are advised that if they fail to make an online selection on a given day, their streak is still alive but they will not receive credit for days missed.WIN STREAK
--Carries a $2,000 prize and is intended to reward players who have selected the most consecutive first-place finishers. If a player fails to make a selection on a given day, his or her streak may continue, but the player will not receive credit for any days missed.TOTAL WINS
--At the end of the player with the most wins will receive a $1,000 prize.TOTAL PLACES
--This too, carries a prize of $1,000 and rewards the players who select the most second-place finishers.WIN PAYOUT
--At the end of the meet, the player who has tabbed the highest single-day win payout will be awarded a $1,000 prize.
Players are encouraged to sign up as early as possible at santaanita.com/showvivor, although registration will be available opening day. As in years past, daily online selections must be made no later than 10 minutes until first post time.
For details, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.