Former Jockey Goberdhan Now a Trainer
Former jockey Chandradat "Punchie" Goberdhan will launch a training career the week of Feb. 10 with stalls at Belmont Park, the British Guyana native said Feb. 8.
Goberdhan, who rode in races from 1991-2010, was the exercise rider for 2008 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner Maram, who raced for the stable of Karen N. Woods and the late prince Saud bin Khaled when trained by Chad Brown.
"She was not an easy ride, she was like a test, but she was a very classy horse and she done very good for me," Goberdhan said.
Goberdhan, 42, will start with horses owned by Woods. He said three are coming from Kentucky and two from Florida, including Maram's half sisters American Lights and Jazil's Dream.
"They're mostly 3-year-olds," Goberdhan said. "I'm not sure when my first starter will be; I need to get the horses here first."
"Punchie is a dedicated jockey and horseman with a great instinct," said Woods. "A man that rides his own horses can feel and synchronize with his mount. He's patient and believes the same thing I do—if you take care of your horse, the horse will take care of you."
As a teenager, Goberdhan obtained an entry-level job as a stable hand at the track before relocating to an Elloree, S.C. training center to learn all aspects of horsemanship including riding.
After four years, he started his jockey career at Philadelphia Park (now Parx Racing) in 1991. He rode competitively on the East Coast and in the Midwest and Florida, getting aboard 1,946 starters for a 148-182-187 record and total earnings of $1,585,296. He won six blacktype events: the 1997 Super Stakes and Tampa Bay Breeders' Cup Stakes with Request a Star, the 1998 Tampa Bay Breeders' Cup Stakes with Ship Liner, the '98 Quick Step Handicap on Buck Creek, the 2001 Awad Stakes aboard Trooper Red, and the Marfa Stakes on Little Lee.
After a racing accident, Goberdhan refocused on being an exercise rider for Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel. There he met Brown, who also worked for Frankel. When Brown became a trainer in 2007, Goberdhan joined him as a traveling assistant for six years.
Goberdhan said his time with Maram inspired his interest in training. He spent the week before the Breeders' Cup with her at Santa Anita Park so Brown could stay with the remainder of his stable in New York. His one-on-one relationship with the filly honed his understanding of Thoroughbreds.
"There were things that she would do and I would respond by letting her have it her way," he said. "I learned to just listen to the horse."
The bond also resulted in life-changing events. Minutes before the Juvenile Fillies Turf, Goberdhan struck up a random conversation with a bystander and predicted Maram would win the race. The bystander was Woods, who soon became aware of Goberdhan's role with her filly.
When Maram died at the age of six this past September after producing a Giant's Causeway colt earlier in the year, a family decision was made with his partners in life—wife Kathy, 39, daughters Sabrina, 17, and Katherine, 13, and son Jason, 7—to honor her.
"They said 'Maram was so lucky for all of us, ask Karen if we can use her as part of the stable name,' " Goberdhan said. "After a call to Karen, the decision was made to name the stable Maram's Legacy. Maram translates in Arabic to 'wish, dream, or desire.' We all have the same desire to do the best we can and be honest with the horses and the owners just as Maram was with all of us.
"I've got a love for horses and I've been riding all my life," concluded Goberdhan, who is looking forward to one day training Maram's only foal. He credits his family and friends with pushing him in a new direction.
"My family has been telling me I have talent and Kathy is my strongest supporter," he said. "They all encouraged me to go out on my own. They make me believe that dreams can true because we made a dream come true with Maram. We all believe good things—and good horses—will come to good people."
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