PERHAPS it's the deeper racetrack or the warmer climate. Or maybe just something in the water. Whatever the reason, Calder has suddenly become a haven for Breeders' Cup champions. For the fourth time in the last couple years, Calder has produced a Breeders' Cup winner, with Trinniberg following in the footsteps of Awesome Feather (2010 Juvenile Fillies), Big Drama (2010 Sprint) and Musical Romance (2011 Filly & Mare Sprint) with his upset victory in the Sprint.
Now his owner-trainer, Trinidad and Tobago-born Shivananda Parbhoo is hoping another recent tradition will continue and that Trinniberg becomes the fourth Florida-based champion in the last three years when the 2012 Eclipse Award winners are announced in early January.
"I think he deserves to be named champion," said Parbhoo. "He has a lot on his résumé and normally the horse who wins the Breeders' Cup wins the award. There really weren't any standouts in the category coming into the Breeders' Cup this year and he beat the best sprinters in the US, so I see no reason why he shouldn't get it."
Parbhoo toyed with the notion of bringing Trinniberg back to Santa Anita for the Malibu (gr.I) on December 26 in the immediate aftermath of the Sprint. But that race is no longer an option and Trinniberg's three-year-old campaign has officially come to an end. The son of Teuflesberg won four of eight starts, including three other graded stakes, and banked US$1.4 million.
"Now that he's got a Grade One win, he has nothing to prove at that level any more until next year," said Parbhoo. "If the Malibu were closer we might have considered taking a shot, but to travel all the way back to Santa Anita, even though we know he loves that track, is asking too much of him."
Parbhoo said Trinniberg would stay at Calder for a couple weeks and then ship to Ocala for some rest and relaxation on a farm before returning to serious training at the end of December.
"Taking him to Dubai next spring is definitely still on the table," said Parbhoo. "And if we did, I'd want to get a race into him at Gulfstream first."
Trinniberg's victory in the Breeders' Cup capped off a roller-coaster year of emotions for Parbhoo and his family while also eliciting celebrations throughout not only their native Trinidad and Tobago but throughout the Caribbean region.
"I'm still trying to find the words to express what this means to me and my family," said Parbhoo. "We run a modest operation, we're not in the big time, so it's not like winning a race like this is something we get to do on a regular basis. And the whole Caribbean celebrated this win with us."
Trinniberg's amazing performance came just five months after the great tragedy the Parbhoo's suffered earlier this season when their beloved Grade One-winning sprinter Giant Ryan had to be euthanised just days after he broke down during the running of Belmont Park's True North Handicap. Giant Ryan took Parbhoo to his first Breeders' Cup in 2011 as well as to Dubai for the Golden Shaheen earlier this year.
"After what happened to Ryan, who was not only a very good horse but like the family pet, you always worry it can happen again," said Parbhoo. "Especially with a front-running sprinter with the type of speed horses like he and Trinniberg have. It changes your thinking, even the way you watch a race. Sometimes you almost want to wait until they get to the finish line to look."
Parbhoo was also quick to praise the Calder racetrack for being so instrumental in the success he's had the last two seasons with both Trinniberg and Giant Ryan.
"This is the best racetrack to train over anywhere," said Parbhoo. "The track is a little deep, a little heavy, and when you take the horses outside the area to run on lighter surfaces they always seem to perform better. I wouldn't trade training at Calder for anything."