Nisha Rathode (Editor)

John Parisella

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Nationality  United States
Ethnicity  Italian

Occupation  horse trainer
Name  John Parisella
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Born  September 1, 1944 (age 71) (1944-09-01) Brooklyn, New York, USA
Spouse(s)  Bernadette Birk (m. 1975, divorced) Melissa Parisella Keller Coveney (divorced)
Children  Bethenny Frankel (step-daughter) Gabrielle Parisella (w/Melissa)
Residence  Atlantic Beach, New York, United States

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


John Parisella VIDEO Bethenny Frankel reconciles with stepfather John Parisella

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Early life and career

Parisella was born in Brooklyn to an Italian Catholic family. Parisella started his career as an assistant to Tommy Gullo, a legendary betting trainer. His mentor was horse trainer John P. Campo. 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.

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

Personal life

Parisella has been married twice:

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


    John Parisella Wikipedia