John Parisella

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John Parisella
Born (1944-09-01) September 1, 1944 (age 72)
Brooklyn, New York, United States
Residence Atlantic Beach, New York
Nationality  United States
Occupation horse trainer
Spouse(s) Bernadette Birk
(m. 1975, divorced)
Melissa Parisella Keller Coveney (divorced)
Children Bethenny Frankel (step-daughter)
Gabrielle Parisella (w/Melissa)

John Parisella is an American horse trainer with 1,222 first-place finishes in 6,692 starts and $22,442,757 in career earnings.[1] He is known for training the racehorses Fight Over[2] and Simply Majestic.[3]

Early life and career[edit]

Parisella was born in Brooklyn[4] to an Italian Catholic family.[5][6] Parisella started his career as an assistant to Tommy Gullo, a legendary betting trainer.[4] His mentor was horse trainer John P. Campo.[7] Later he became a full-fledge horse trainer training horses for his uncle Joe Scandore who managed horses for James Caan, Don Adams, Telly Savalas and Don Rickles.[4][8]

Parisella pioneered the use of foreign horses, mostly from Canada and turning them into stakes winners.[4] John also trained several stakes winners for owner Ted Sabarese in the 1980s.

Personal life[edit]

Parisella has been married twice:

  • In 1975, he married Bernadette Birk, the former wife of Jewish American horse trainer Robert J. Frankel.[9][10] Parisella and Frankel were originally friends as well as competitors.[4] Parisella raised his step-daughter Bethenny Frankel (Birk's daughter with Frankel) as his own child from the time she was five years old.[9] Bethenny went on to become a reality TV star.[9]
  • He was also married to Melissa Parisella, with whom he has a daughter, Gabrielle (b. 1989).[8][11] They divorced and Melissa has since re-married twice: first to American football player Mike Keller, with whom she had two children,[12] and later to Robert Coveney.

Parisella appeared twice on the Johnny Carson Show.[4]