Frank “Pancho” Martin’s career began in his native Cuba, where he worked his way up from hotwalker to trainer by age 16. By the time he turned 21, Martin was racing Cuban horses in Ohio. After building his reputation in New England and Florida, he came to New York, where he was leading trainer 10 years in a row (1973-1982).
Martin won 3,241 career races from 18,985 starts with purse earnings that totaled $47,592,039.
Two of Martin’s best horses were champions Autobiography, Jockey Club Gold Cup winner, and Outstandingly, winner of the inaugural Breeders’ Cup for Juvenile Fillies in 1984. His favorite was Sham, Santa Anita Derby winner and runner-up in Secretariat’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness.
Martin’s first major stakes winner was Manassa Mauler, winner of the Wood Memorial in 1959. Martin also won the Wood in 1974 with Rube the Great. Among his other notable horses are 1971 Brooklyn Handicap winner Never Bow, 1972 Suburban Handicap winner Hitchcock, and 1998 Whirlaway winner Watch the Bird.
Martin was the nation’s leading money winner in 1974.
Frank “Pancho” Martin was inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 1981. He passed away on July 18, 2012.
Martin's favorite horse, Sham, winning the Santa Anita Derby of 1973
©Santa Anita Photo