Reigning champion sprinter Trinniberg will try to make history when he faces an expected 12 other starters in the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen presented by Gulf News Saturday, March 30 at Meydan.
While American-based sprinters have dominated the six-furlong main-track sprint on the Dubai World Cup undercard, Trinniberg will try to become the first horse to win both the XpressBet Breeders' Cup Sprint and Golden Shaheen. Trainer Shivananda Parbhoo said the 4-year-old Teuflesberg colt has looked great since shipping to Dubai.
"I know he is going to run well," Parbhoo said. "He's shown us so much from the time he was a 2-year-old. He is special."
Trinniberg will be making his first start since winning the Nov. 3 Breeders' Cup Sprint by three-quarters of a length at Santa Anita Park. Regular rider Willie Martinez has made the trip to Dubai where Trinniberg, who was purchased by the Parbhoo family for just $21,000 at the 2011 Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s March sale of 2-year-olds in training, will try to win his second straight seven-figure purse.
"We wouldn't trade places with anybody else," Martinez said. "You can never be too confident in this game, but we're going there to prove Trinniberg is not only the best U.S. sprinter, but the best in the world. That would be awesome to achieve."
Fourteen Parbhoo family members have made the trip to Dubai to cheer on the champion, who faces the added challenge of racing on a synthetic surface for the first time in his career. Meydan features Tapeta on its main track and just one U.S.-based horse, Kinsale King, has won the Golden Shaheen in its three years at Meydan following 14 years of dirt racing at Nad al Sheba.
"I think he is liking the track," Parbhoo said. "Hopefully, he'll get a good start. In a sprint race, the start is so important. After that, we've just got to leave it up to him."
Martinez believes Trinniberg can win off the extended layoff.
"I was really happy with the way he felt physically. Mentally, I feel the time off is going to do him a lot of good," Martinez said. "He always runs his best races off a layoff when he is fresh, so we have to hope he takes to the Tapeta surface. We think he'll be okay, but it's not what we think or how we feel when we get there. He has to show up that day."
Of course plenty of top competition also awaits four-time graded stakes winner Trinniberg, starting with 2012 Golden Shaheen winner Krypton Factor. A 5-year-old Kyllachy gelding, Krypton Factor cruised to a 2 1/4-length victory in last year's Golden Shaheen and enters this year's race off a runner-up finish in the Mahab al Shimaal Sponsored by Emirates Skywards.
The winner, Reynaldothewizard; and third-place finisher, Balmont Mast; from that March 9 prep race -- contested at the Golden Shaheen distance of six furlongs -- also are entered in Saturday's race.
Another U.S.-based horse starting in the Golden Shaheen is Good Friends Stable's Private Zone, who enters off a runner-up finish in the Jan. 19 Palos Verdes Stakes at six furlongs on the Santa Anita dirt. Trained by Doug O'Neill, who conditioned last year's Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner I'll Have Another, Private Zone has placed in five stakes races, including last year's Vernon O. Underwood Stakes on the synthetic surface (Cushion Track) at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Zabeel Racing International's Reynaldothewizard raced at age 2 and 3 in the U.S. when he was trained by Eoin Harty, placing third in the 2008 Saratoga Special Stakes. Reynaldothewizard is currently trained by Satish Seemar.