With a measured victory in the $85,000, seven-furlong
You and I stakes on Saturday at Belmont Park, Currency Swap showed the form
that marked his 2011 juvenile campaign, which included a win in the Grade 1
Three Chimneys Hopeful at Saratoga Race Course.
Sent off as the 3-2 second choice behind even money favorite Hardened
Wildcat, Currency Swap broke alertly from the outside post and was sent to the
lead by jockey Rajiv Maragh for the run up the backstretch.
Setting moderate fractions of 23.67 and 47.16, Currency Swap was asked
for run at the top of the stretch by Maragh, shook clear, and maintained an
easy advantage to the wire, finishing three quarters of a length ahead of
Brian, who in turn was 1 ¾ lengths clear of Hardened Wildcat, with Tightend
Touchdown and Phil Dancer completing the order. Currency Swap completed seven
furlongs in 1:22.43 and paid $5.10 for a $2 win wager.
“When I saw him on the overnight, I was really excited,”
said Maragh, who rode the colt in his Hopeful triumph, a race in which eventual
Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another ran sixth. “He’s a
really talented horse. I got a good draw on the outside, so I had a shot to
break and see what was happening. It didn’t seem like the pace was
developing fast, so I kind of just took advantage of that and stayed close and
he finished strong. He kept on going – it definitely was not the end of
his run at the wire. He had more left.”
Owned by Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence and trained by
Teresa Pompay, Currency Swap was undefeated last year as a 2-year-old, winning
maiden race en route to the Hopeful.
Given six months off, he returned to the races March 16 in a Gulfstream Park allowance, finishing second by
seven lengths to eventual Grade 1 Resorts World Casino New York City Wood
Memorial winner Gemologist, and subsequently ran 11th in the Grade
3, 1 1/8-mile Illinois Derby on April 7.
“The two turns and a mile and an eighth in the Illinois Derby was
a lot to throw at him, and he had a rough trip besides, so it was good to
regroup,” said Pompay. “There were still some nice racehorses in
here, but it was a little bit less salty and it will pick his head up.”
The trainer mentioned that for now, the plan is to keep the High Cotton
colt sprinting, with a logical next spot the seven furlong, Grade 2, $400,000
Woody Stephens on Belmont Stakes Day, Saturday, June 9.
“I talked to the owners and we wanted to win this and thinking
maybe the Woody Stephens and then maybe later in the year trying to stretch him
back out and see if he can do it,” said Pompay. “But we want to
keep his confidence up and give him a few good races in a row where we know he
can be really effective.”