Frank 'Pancho' Martin: trainer of Sham won 11 top New York trainer titlesPICTURE: NYRA
Death of Sham's trainer 'Pancho' Martin at 86
USA: Frank 'Pancho' Martin, best known for training Secretariat's great rival Sham, died on Wednesday night. He was 86.
Inducted into the US Hall of Fame in 1981, Martin trained 3,240 winners during a 60-year career, according to Equibase statistics. He had saddled 77 runners in 2012.
Martin, who started out in the racing world in his native Cuba, ended up as a major force on the New York circuit after relocating to the US in 1951.
According to the Blood-Horse, he was top trainer in New York on 11 occasions, winning more than 20 individual meeting titles at Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga. He led the entire country in prize-money in 1974 with more than $2.4 million.
Martin's most celebrated horse was Sham, whose 1973 rivalry with Secretariat was an integral part of that legend's story.
Sham was second in the Wood Memorial, with Secretariat third, before chasing home 'Big Red' in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.
After trying to match strides again with Secretariat, he finished last in the Belmont as his rival posted a famous 31-length winning margin.
Among a multitude of stakes winners, Martin also trained Autobiography, champion older horse in 1972 when he won the Jockey Club Gold Cup, and Outstandingly, who won the inaugural Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies via disqualification in 1984.
"He was one of the greatest horsemen," said legendary rider Angel Cordero, who rode Autobiography. "When I came to this country I worked around four people here I think were the greatest: Angel Penna Sr., Lazaro Barrera, Frank Martin, and Allen Jerkens."
"Today, it's a new generation, but of the old timers they were the greatest. With jockeys, you get good riders and excellent riders. With trainers, you get good trainers and excellent trainers - and he was one of them."