Goberdhan sets up New York stable
C. "Punchie" Goberdhan, a former jockey who worked for such top trainers as Hall of Famer Bobby Frankel and Chad Brown, is set to begin his own training career next week with a string of horses at Belmont Park. The British Guyana native attended high school across from Aqueduct and he said watching races from a classroom window inspired his interest in Thoroughbred racing.
As an exercise rider and traveling assistant for Brown, Goberdhan was instrumental in preparing Maram for her victory in the 2008 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. Goberdhan will have several owners in his new stable including Karen N. Woods who campaigned Maram with partner, H. H. Prince Saud bin Khaled and co-bred her under her Hair 'Em Corporation banner. Woods will send several horses to Goberdhan including Maram's half-sisters American Lights and Jazil's Dream.
"Punchie is a dedicated jockey and horseman with a great instinct," Woods said. "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, South Carolina, 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 in the early 1990s. After a racing accident, he refocused on being an exercise rider for Frankel where 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 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 Karen N. Woods who soon became aware of Goberdhan's role with her filly. As a bonus, his earnings from her triumph allowed him to pay off his car and other debts.
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."
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