Entering without a 2013 win off a seventh-place finish some 22 lengths behind the winner in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship (gr. I) is not the typical route to XpressBet Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) glory, but Trinniberg 's connections believe top competition could bring out the best in the reigning champion sprinter.
Last year Trinniberg tracked Sum of the Parts through a quarter-mile in :21 2/5, seized the lead in the turn, opened a clear lead in early stretch, and had enough to hold off The Lumber Guy by a half-length to win the Sprint and secure an Eclipse Award.
Since that race, Trinniberg has struggled; finishing on the board in just one of his three starts going into the Nov. 2 Sprint at Santa Anita Park. But as trainer Bisnath Parbhoo sees it, champion Trinniberg has earned a shot to defend his title.
"He ran his best race when he faced all the champion horses (in the 2012 Sprint)," Parbhoo said. "So I'm thinking this year he'll run his best race when he faces all the champion horses."
The Parbhoo family campaigns Trinniberg. Bisnath and his son Shivananda alternate training duties. Bisnath Parbhoo is not sure why Trinniberg ran so poorly in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship Sept. 28 at the Sprint distance.
"When he ran his last race, I still can't figure that race. I can't. I don't know. It was shocking to me the way he finished," Parbhoo said. "I don't want to see that anymore."
After starting the season with a seventh-place finish in the Dubai Golden Shaheen Sponsored by Gulf News (UAE-I) on March 30, Trinniberg then faded to seventh in the Churchill Downs Stakes (gr. II) in his first start back in the U.S. on May 4. Bisnath Parbhoo said Triniberg did not handle the trip to Dubai well.
"I think he didn't like it over there, and the long travel," Parbhoo said. "From the detention barn, the travel a long way; I think that took a lot out of him."
Returned to the Parbhoo's Calder Casino & Race Course base, Trinniberg appeared to be rounding back into form when he finished second to Sprint rival Bahamian Squall in the Smile Sprint Handicap (gr. II). But a long layoff would follow that July 6 race as Trinniberg did not race again until the Oct. 5 Santa Anita Sprint Championship.
"In the Smile Sprint he seemed to be coming back. He ran a good one. But this race here? I can't figure it. I'd like to know what went wrong," Parbhoo said. "He's worked well here. When you ask the exercise rider, the groom, everybody; they can't figure out why he ran that way."
Pabhoo said a decision on racing Trinniberg next year will be made after Saturday's race. He said his family has enjoyed this year despite their star's struggles.
"It was good; it was nice to be among all of the top class horses. Wherever the top class horses were at; he was there," Parbhoo said. "Seven or eight years ago we could only wonder what it's like to have a horse in the Breeders' Cup or the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). It's a nice feeling. You can't win all of them but in 2012 we won the Breeders' Cup. It's nice to be among the champions. It's a nice feeling."
And perhaps Trinniberg will surprise them in a good way Saturday.
"Let's hope he gets a clean trip here and may the best horse win," Parbhoo said. "He's capable of winning; he's beaten the best already."