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Can Currency Swap Catch J C's Pride in Hopeful?

Monday may be closing day for the 143rd meet at Saratoga Race Course, but the Grade 1, $250,000 Three Chimneys Hopeful could be just the beginning of bigger things for the 10 juveniles entered in the seven-furlong race.

 

Man o’ War, Secretariat, Affirmed, Whirlaway, Summer Squall and Afleet Alex are among the many classic winners to have taken the Hopeful, which will be run for the 107th time. Additionally, the Three Chimneys Hopeful is a “Win and You’re In” race, with the winner guaranteed a berth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs.

 

Although lightly raced, Saturday’s contenders have no shortage of talent.

 

A pair of 2-year-olds – Klaravich Stables’ Currency Swap and Joseph Bucci’s J C’s Pride – have landed on NYRA’s “ New York Watch” series off extremely impressive maiden victories at the Spa.

 

On July 27, J C’s Pride set a Saratoga track record when he zipped five furlongs in 56.54 in his second start. His effort earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 101, which is tied for the best among 2-year-olds this year, and his connections are anticipating another good effort from the son of Henny Hughes.

 

“He’s very, very rapid,” said trainer Bobby Barbara. “But, he’s very easy to handle. I’m hoping he gets out of the gate like he did in his first two starts, stays in front, and relaxes on the lead. If someone runs at him down the backside, he’s not a horse who’s going to grab the bridle and run off.”

 

Having drawn advantageously on the outside, the challenge for the front-running colt will be the stretch out to seven furlongs from five.

 

“If he runs as fluidly and smoothly as he did when he broke his maiden, he’ll handle it,” said Barbara, who will be saddling his first Three Chimneys Hopeful starter. “Plus, he’s got a wonderful mind. That’s what’s going to keep him sound and good, because he’s not aggressive and running off. He won a maiden race; now, he has to run against horses.”

 

Jose Lezcano will ride J C’s Pride, the 5-2 morning-line favorite.

 

Currency Swap, trained by Teresa Pompay, has made just a single start, but it was a memorable one. On August 6, the High Cotton colt came four wide on the turn and drew off to an imposing six-length victory, covering the 6 ½ furlongs in 1:17.02 and earning a 98 Beyer, tied for fourth-best among juveniles this year.

 

“He’s smart, good-looking, a nice mover, and fast,” said Pompay of Currency Swap, who has been stabled in Barbara’s barn since Sunday. “I think stretching out, he’s going to like the distance. In his first race, he ran off his talent, and I hope he learned something.

 

“They’re all talented, it’s a matter of who comes forward, and who doesn’t,” she added.

 

Rajiv Maragh will be aboard Currency Swap, who drew post position 3 and was listed as the 3-1 second choice on the morning line as part of an entry with Mechanicville native Chad Brown’s Clip the Coupons.

 

Todd Pletcher, who appears to have wrapped up his eighth training title at Saratoga, will send out recent maiden winners Hunt Crossing and Big Blue Nation.

 

Dell Ennis’ Hunt Crossing, a son of Corinthian, was a four-length winner going five furlongs at Saratoga on August 3.

 

Big Blue Nation, a son of Bluegrass Cat, pressed the early pace and prevailed by three-quarters of a length in a six-furlong race at Churchill Downs on July 3, after which he was purchased by Bortoazzo Stable and sent to Pletcher.

 

“Big Blue Nation we’ve had for about three weeks now and seems to be training well,” said Pletcher, who won the 2006 Three Chimneys Hopeful with Circular Quay. “We were pleased with Hunt Crossing’s maiden win and pleased with the way he’s trained since then, so we’re going to take a shot.”

 

John Velazquez rides Hunt Crossing, 4-1 on the morning line, from the rail while Ramon Dominguez is aboard Big Blue Nation, who drew post position 6 and was listed at 10-1 on the morning line.

 

Power World will be making his third graded stakes start in the Three Chimneys Hopeful, having finished second to Exfactor in the Grade 3 Bashford Manor at Churchill on July 2 and second to Overdriven in the Grade 2 Sanford at Saratoga on July 24. Winner of his maiden outing at Churchill on July 11, Power World drew post position 4 and will be ridden by Hall of Famer Edgar Prado at 6-1 on the morning line.

 

Coming in from California is the Doug O’Neill-trained I’ll Have Another, a maiden winner at first asking who came back to finish second in the Grade 2 Best Pal at Del Mar on August 7.

 

Owned by J. P. Reddam, the Flower Alley colt drew post position 8 with Julien Leparoux in the irons. He was listed at 8-1 on the morning line.

 

Rounding out the field are the John Kimmel-trained Vexor, a maiden winner at the Spa on August 11; Trinniberg, fifth in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special on August 15, and Laurie’s Rocket, who broke his maiden at second asking at Saratoga on July 23.

 

The field for the Grade 1 Three Chimneys Hopeful:

Prog. No.

PP

Horse

Jockey

Wgt

Trainer

Odds

1

3

Currency Swap

Rajiv Maragh

120

T M Pompay

 3-1

1a

5

Clip the Coupons

Eddie Castro

120

C C Brown

 3-1

2

1

Hunt Crossing

John Velazquez

120

T A Pletcher

 4-1

3

2

Vexor

David Cohen

120

J C Kimmel

12-1

4

4

Power World

Edgar Prado

120

N J Howard

 6-1

5

6

Big Blue Nation

R A Dominguez

120

T A Pletcher

10-1

6

7

Trinniberg

C H Velasquez

120

B Parboo

20-1

7

8

I'll Have Another

J R Leparoux

120

D F O'Neill

 8-1

8

9

Laurie's Rocket

K J Desormeaux

120

D Stewart

20-1

9

10

J C's Pride

J Lezcano

120

R Barbara

 5-2

Coupled entry – Currency Swap and Clip the Coupons

 

 

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Older Comments about Can Currency Swap Catch J C's Pride in Hopeful?...

i agree
JC's Pride is a fast one....

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