The 47-year-old Parbhoo grew up in Trinidad, and got interested in the sport as a child; his father, Bisnath, was an ardent racing fan who worked part-time assisting a horse trainer.
The family moved to the United States in 1990. (As a result of a clerical error in the immigration process, Bisnath’s last name was misspelled “Parboo”— the spelling that will appear in the Churchill program Saturday.) They got into the trucking business in the New York area, and the father wanted to get into thoroughbred training.
Training a stable of family-owned horses, he proceeded to lose 90 races in a row. “He was going ‘old school,’ doing what he did in Trinidad,” his son said. The father eschewed legal medications such as Lasix that are an essential part of every U.S. trainer’s arsenal.
But when the family moved to Florida in 2010, Bisnath changed his ways and started winning at nearly a 25 percent rate against the weaker competition at Calder Race Course. He did a textbook job of managing the high-class sprinter Giant Ryan to six straight victories last year.
The addition of Trinniberg to the stable was purely serendipitous. As Parbhoo tells the story, he was in Ocala, Fla. — the heart of the state’s horse country — when somebody told him that an auction of 2-year-old thoroughbreds was underway at the Ocala Breeders Sales Co. Parbhoo went there strictly as a spectator — he didn’t even have a sales catalogue — but a colt in the auction ring caught his eye. “I didn’t even know who his mother or father were,” he recalled, “but I liked the way he looked. I started bidding on him and got him for $21,000.”
Three months later, the colt led all the way to win a five-furlong dash at Calder, and Parbhoo declared: “This is my Kentucky Derby horse.”
Trinniberg showed almost uncontrollable speed as a 2-year-old — he once ran a quarter mile in a breathtaking 20.96 seconds — but he faded in most of his races. This spring, however, he won seven-furlong stakes at Gulfstream Park in impressive fashion, signaling that he was ready to take the next step in his development, and there was a perfect spot to do it: the one-mile Derby Trial at Churchill. Parbhoo announced that Trinniberg would run in that race, then quickly changed his mind. “I think he’s a better horse than the Derby Trial,” he said.
Parbhoo envisions Trinniberg using his superior quickness to take the early lead in the Derby, while the jockeys on his rivals refrain from getting into a suicidal duel with him. “They’re going to give him the lead and hope he’s going to stop,” Parbhoo predicted. “I don’t know long he can go,” he conceded, “but I have to give the horse a chance.”