A resolute Trinniberg, dogged through the early going by Currency Swap, put away his rival in the Belmont Park stretch and went on to a 1 3/4-length victory in Saturday’s 28th running of the Grade 2, $400,000 Woody Stephens presented by VisitNassauCounty.com.
Sent right to the front by jockey Willie Martinez, Trinniberg zipped through an opening quarter-mile in 22.30 seconds and a half in 44.73 with 9-1 shot Currency Swap right off his flank. Shaking off his challenger’s bid as they straightened for home, Trinniberg quickly put two lengths between himself and Currency Swap and was never threatened as he crossed the wire in 1:22.26 for the seven furlongs.
“There's nothing more than we can ask for. I was expecting 44, 1:08,” said Shivananda Parbhoo, owner of Trinniberg. “I know this horse is capable of going fast. When they run this hard, you hope they come back good. [The] $400,000, this is the biggest win. I don’t think any 3-year-old is going to be able to run with him.”
It was the second meeting in a graded stakes between the top two finishers, with Currency Swap having rallied for a three-quarters of a length victory over the front-running Trinniberg – who was 68-1 – in last year’s Grade 1 Three Chimneys Hopeful at Saratoga Race Course.
“He was trying to get to him, he just couldn’t this time,” said Terri Pompay, who trains Currency Swap for Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence. “I was thinking we were going to get him, but you could see coming down the stretch my horse was a little tired. I could see it in his face. He was just like, ‘Help!’ But he tried; he really ran a good race.”
Trinniberg returned $7.70 as the 5-2 favorite and earned $240,000, extending his bankroll to $581,300. Trained by Bisnath Parboo, the 3-year-old son of Teuflesberg has now won three of his four starts this year, including a six-length victory in the Grade 3 Swale at Gulfstream Park and a three-length win in the Grade 3 Bay Shore at Aqueduct Racetrack. His lone off-the-board appearance came when he was 17th in the Kentucky Derby immediately prior to the Woody Stephens.
“He was pressed today, he handled it well, and we believe he’s one of the top sprinters in the country right now – definitely the best 3-year-old sprinter right now, and he lived up to expectations,” said Martinez of Trinniberg. “It was an amazing ride.”
Il Villano ran evenly to get third, with Hardened Wildcat, Bourbon Courage, Hierro, Isn’t He Clever, Power World, Laurie’s Rocket and Brian completing the order of finish.