Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Taken from my hands, left in Bobby's?

No offense to his family and friends -- or to humankind -- but I will always remember the day that Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel died, Nov. 16, 2009, as the day my first baby in this hard business met her own untimely demise.

I shared on this blog earlier in the week that Oracle at Delphi (Mighty Forum-Bushes Victory, by Spartan Victory) broke the humerus in her left front by crashing through a fence in a panic Sunday night, spooked by a falling tree. Another filly followed her through and was injured, but by reports I've received, should recover well.

Born March 30, Oracle at Delphi, the splendid chestnut filly with a huge blaze and three white socks eerily reminiscent of her great-great-grandsire Secretariat, didn't make it to eight months of age. She lived through the night Sunday, but X-rays in the morning revealed no hope of recovery.

And I'm not 100 percent certain that the full measure of that truth has yet sunk in.

I don't get to Gordonsville, Va., all that often to see the horses. I'd "met" Delphy twice and thought she was exceptional -- though admittedly, as her co-breeder, I was biased. Still, a trainer friend of mine, from photos I sent him, said the girl was well-balanced and had the right look for her age. She had a nice engine and appeared to be one that someday, I told myself, might really motor.

But in her short time on earth, as almost-perfect as she appeared, Delphy had her share of issues.

She first came down with the snots. Aggressive treatment took care of the issue. But when it's your horse and your money, there's no such thing as a "minor" ailment in a young foal.

Then Delphy suffered a pasture accident of some sort in which she bloodied her muzzle and cracked a small bone in her nose. Careful monitoring and a few weeks without her halter for comfort and healing led to a full recovery.

Now this.

In hindsight, maybe Delphy's was just a life not meant to be. Or meant to be for long.

I'm left to try and rationalize why fate chose her to take so soon, though of course there's no reason behind determining the victims in matters of fatal chance.

And I'm left to console myself with memories and frivolous thoughts, like speculating that Delphy must have been fast; after all, in a panicked rush of horseflesh, she was the first foal to hit the fence.

Condolences have flooded in, from friends, family, horse-business contacts and readers of this blog. Each and every kind word has been appreciated. True to the nature of horse-lovers, myself included, some of the seemingly most offbeat comments offer the truest comfort.

And this is where one Robert J. Frankel re-enters our story.

A member of a horse racing message board in which I participate, known as BigHorse2 at Yahoo Groups, passed along this thought, typed-up, she admitted, through a stream of her own tears.

"Maybe Bobby went to train Delphy."

My filly should be so lucky up in Heaven. She's due.


  1. "Maybe Bobby went to train Delphy."

    I'm late chiming in on this but may peace be with you and those around the filly. The sky is truly the limit for Delphy now. Long may she run.

  2. God bless you and your filly. Bad things sometimes happen even to the finest of people.

    Best regards,


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