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Pompay Finds Spot for Currency Swap at Saratoga

Currency Swap breaks maiden at Saratoga.

Seeking a spot to bring her first career Grade 1 winner back to the races, trainer Terri Pompay found one at her - and her horse's - favorite track.


A native of Saratoga Springs now based in New Jersey, Pompay will saddle multiple graded stakes winner Currency Swap in Friday's opener at Saratoga Race Course, an optional claiming allowance for 3-year-olds and up going six furlongs.


Making his first start in 9 ½ months, the 4-year-old High Cotton colt drew post three in the six-horse field with regular rider Rajiv Maragh aboard.


"We're basically just trying to get a good starting race into him that he could be effective in," Pompay said. "He hasn't run in a long time, and we'd like to get him back on track and, hopefully, run in a stake toward the end of the meet. Any allowance race is going to be tough, because that's how they are at Saratoga, but it's not like putting him right in a stake. At least maybe we won't get the real heavy heads."


Owned by Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence, Currency Swap has earned three of his four career wins at Saratoga, including the Grade 1 Hopeful in 2011 and the Grade 2 Amsterdam in 2012. Also a debut winner here in 2011, he was sixth as the favorite in the Grade 1 King's Bishop last summer.


"He's been here since last weekend," Pompay said of Currency Swap. "He loves it here. He's a hambone, you know? He walks around the paddock like he owns it. He's always been good here. He loves it here, and he's got the big, wide turns on the track. He's just very comfortable here. I'm happy to have him back."


Currency Swap hasn't raced since finishing seventh of eight in the $300,000 Gallant Bob at Parx Racing last September. A week after the race, he underwent tie-back surgery to fix what had been a slowly developing breathing problem.


"They basically tie the flap back," Pompay said. "He had one flap that, even when he won the Amsterdam, was starting to get lazy, and that didn't let him get his air totally. He still won even though he was a little bit handicapped at that point.


"You really can't do the surgery until they're pretty far along, and it gets a little paralyzed," she added. "We kind of had to wait. After the race he ran at Philadelphia, it was evident that he was laying perfect and trying, he just had his head up and was struggling to breathe a little bit, and we decided it was time to do it."


The surgery was performed by Dr. Eric Parente.


"He did a great job. It's very neat," Pompay said. "A lot of horses can't come back to their full potential after this surgery, but he's doing great. He's healthy, eating great, looks great, and doesn't make a noise. Even last year, while it was in the process of getting paralyzed, he was making sound and we could hear it.


"He's a big, heavy kind of horse, a heavily muscled horse, so he might need the race. That's why I was trying to find an easier spot for him, but he hasn't shown me anything to think he won't be where he was."




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