Added to the list of Triple Crown nominees at the late entry stage last month, Shivananda Racing's Trinniberg might have just run himself into Kentucky Derby consideration after dominating Saturday's Grade 3, $250,000 Bay Shore in front-running fashion at Aqueduct. Trainer Bisnath Parboo has mentioned the May 19 Preakness as a more probable alternative, but whichever way connections go, the speedy son of Teuflesberg is likely to make his two-turn debut in a leg of the Triple Crown.
"The performance was amazing," owner Shivananda Parbhoo said of the handy three-length score. "I knew he would go to the lead. He's the class of the race. (Jockey Willie Martinez) didn't even use him at all.
"The plans are the Preakness, but let me see how good he comes out. There's a 15 percent chance for the Kentucky Derby. I want to go long. I wanted to do that (and run him in Saturday's Grade 1 Wood Memorial), but I don't think he was ready. I wanted to go to the New Orleans race (the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby last Sunday), but I canceled 15 minutes before the race. Me and my pops (the trainer) are an amazing team.
"Every time he runs and you ask him, he wants to give more. You see this race, and it's unbelievable."
Trinniberg, who had been a useful sprinter at two, looked like a different animal in his reappearance in the Grade 3 Swale at Gulfstream Park on March 10. Taking blinkers off for that sophomore bow, he ran his rivals ragged en route to a six-length triumph, and followed up with another virtuoso wire job here.
The 6-5 favorite in the Bay Shore, Trinniberg soon established command from his rail post and got away with easy fractions of :23 2/5 and :47 2/5. How Do I Win and King and Crusader gave chase, but neither looked like overtaking the winner.
Under supremely confident handling by Martinez, Trinniberg stretched clear at the top of the stretch and appeared to be in a common gallop as he reached six furlongs in 1:11 2/5. Hardened Wildcat, the 7-5 second choice, rallied well along the inside to claim best-of-the-rest, but was no match for Trinniberg.
"You should never be too confident going into a race," Martinez said. "It's horse racing -- anything can happen -- but I was overwhelmed with confidence. Once I cleared the chute I knew it was all over. I was just trying to be the passenger. He's the pilot."
After completing seven furlongs in 1:23 2/5 on the fast track, Trinniberg paid $4.70, $3 and $2.40. Hardened Wildcat was 5 1/2 lengths clear of How Do I Win. Maan edged King and Crusader for fourth, and Phil Dancer, Perfect Trippi and Copy My Swagger rounded out the order under the wire.
Jockey Junior Alvarado was pleased with Hardened Wildcat.
"I had a perfect trip for him," Alvarado said. "He was where he likes to be, settled back, very relaxed. When I picked it up, my horse really took off and finished really strong, but the speed's been holding. The horse who won the race won it pretty easy. I'm really impressed with my horse; he was the only one coming from behind. Today horses haven't been coming from behind. I thought there might be a little more speed, but my horse doesn't have speed and I didn't want to squeeze him the first part or else he wouldn't finish."
Trinniberg now boasts a 7-3-2-0 mark to go along with $341,300 in earnings, while racing exclusively in sprints. A debut winner at Calder last July by 5 3/4 lengths, Trinniberg was fifth, beaten 26 lengths, in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special in the slop in his next outing. He encountered the same track conditions in the Grade 1 Hopeful on Labor Day, but fared much better to be a stubborn second to Currency Swap at odds of 68-1 after leading most of the way. He occupied the same position after a similar run in the Grade 2 Nashua at Belmont Park, but went way too fast in the inaugural Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint at Churchill Downs. Pressured by eventual winner Secret Circle through an opening quarter of :20 4/5, Trinniberg made a steady retreat to finish seventh in the nine-horse field.
Trinniberg was bred in Kentucky by J M Stables and sold for $21,000 at the OBS April Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training. He was produced by the stakes-placed Bella Dorato, a daughter of Goldminers Gold, and is now the first stakes winner produced in the past four generations of his family. This female line once yielded Cavalcade, who captured the 1934 Kentucky Derby.