As Trinniberg and Currency Swap dueled to the wire in the quagmire that was the 2011 Three Chimneys Hopeful Stakes (gr. I), I stood in the winner's circle in a rooting quandary.
Currency Swap was trained by Teresa Pompay, a Saratoga native whose family I had known since I was 13 years old. A win would mean her first grade I race at her home track, an achievement of inestimable significance.
But my 11-year-old nephew, standing on a picnic table in the backyard at the track, had $2 to win on 68-1 Trinniberg, courtesy of a bet placed by his father. Christopher's method of handicapping dictated that he bet the longest shot on the board in every race, a strategy that had paid off a race earlier when 32-1 Goldzar eked out a neck victory. A win by Trinniberg would go down in the Genaro family history books.
Currency Swap got the victory that day, but my nephew Christopher had stamped Trinniberg as our horse. At the Breeders' Cup World Championships that year at Churchill Downs, a visit to Trinniberg and his connections—owner Shivananda Parbhoo and his father, trainer Bisnath Parboo—was among my first stops.
The son of Teuflesberg finished seventh in the Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint, but as a 3-year-old, Trinniberg showed that his Hopeful performance was no fluke, winning the Swale Stakes (gr. III), Bay Shore Stakes (gr. III), and the grade II Woody Stephens Stakes. His odds were nowhere near that juicy price in the Hopeful—they didn't even hit double-digits—but Genaro family money accompanied him to the winner's circle each time, as it did as well in the races he lost.
Trinniberg made it back to the Breeders' Cup last year, even though I didn't, courtesy of Superstorm Sandy. At Aqueduct within a few miles of New York's most devastated areas, I bet Trinniberg—for me and for my nephew—at 13.70-1, and when he won by 1 3/4 lengths, I texted Christopher to let him know about his windfall, which he informed me had been doubled because my father had also placed a wager for him.
Two months later, the slop-loving speedball we'd met at Saratoga was a champion, the Eclipse Award-winning sprinter for 2012. Owned and trained by a father and son, he is a family affair for them, and for us.