06/07/2012 12:16PM

Belmont: After Derby, Trinniberg shortens up in Woody Stephens


ELMONT, N.Y. – Bisnath Parboo, the trainer of Trinniberg, said he has no regrets trying to stretch out Trinniberg to 1 1/4 miles in the Kentucky Derby. He also has no reason to ever try it again.

Sprints are where Trinniberg has shined, and sprints will be the focus for the rest of the year, beginning Saturday at Belmont Park in the Grade 2, $400,000 Woody Stephens Stakes, a seven-furlong dash for 3-year-olds that goes as the ninth of 13 races on the Belmont Stakes card.

The Stephens drew an outstanding field of 10, including Currency Swap, the winner of last year’s Hopeful at Saratoga, and Hierro, who won the Derby Trial in his last start. But Trinniberg is the one to beat if he returns to his best form.

“Since the Kentucky Derby, he’s been doing really, really good,” Parboo said at Belmont Park. “He went back to Calder, had two good breezes. He can run back to his game. He’s definitely on his game.”

Trinniberg came into the Derby off a pair of runaway wins at seven furlongs in the Swale at Gulfstream Park and the Bay Shore at Aqueduct. Even though Trinniberg had never been farther than seven furlongs, Parboo decided to take a shot in the Derby. He expected to be on the lead, but Bodemeister broke fastest and took the track from Trinniberg. They set blazing fractions. Bodemeister courageously battled on and finished second. Trinniberg called for a taxi at the three-furlong pole.

“I wasn’t expecting 1:09,” Parboo said, referring to the Derby six-furlong fraction of 1:09.80. “When I saw the fractions for the quarter, the half, I knew we were in trouble.”

Parboo credited jockey Willie Martinez with being smart when the cause was lost, preserving Trinniberg and enabling him to come back five weeks later in the Stephens.

“My instructions to the jockey were if we couldn’t be 1-2-3-4 at the quarter pole, to relax, don’t beat him up, which he did,” Parboo said. “I don’t have any regrets about running. If we had skipped the Derby, and later on we ran him a mile and an eighth and he did well, we’d always be wondering if we should have tried him a mile and quarter in the Derby. Now we know.”

Currency Swap also tiptoed in the Derby waters, but returned to shore after finishing 11th of 14 in the Illinois Derby. He smartly skipped the Kentucky Derby and won the overnight You and I here May 12.

Hierro overcame a sloppy track and a weather-related delay to capture the Derby Trial, defeating Paynter, who came back to win a Pimlico allowance and is one of the top contenders in the Belmont Stakes. Hierro, however, must overcome the rail draw, a spot from which he had a nightmarish trip in a Santa Anita allowance race in March.

Bourbon Courage won two straight before being upended on a sloppy track in the Derby Trial.

Power World was an impressive winner of a Belmont allowance in his first start of the year and his first since moving to trainer Bill Mott.