Currency Swap foils longshot in Hopeful

by | 09.05.2011 | 4:10pm
Currency Swap, Three Chimneys Hopeful

Currency Swap wore down 68-1 front-running longshot Trinniberg to win the 107th running of the Grade 1 Three Chimneys Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga on Monday, closing day of the 2011 meeting. Big Blue Nation was a distant third, followed across the finish by Laurie's Rocket in fourth. J C's Pride, second choice in the betting, was vanned off the track after being pulled up on the turn and failing to finish the seven-furlong race for 2-year-olds.

A son of the Dixie Union stallion High Cotton out of Echo Bluff, by Pine Bluff, Currency Swap races for Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence. The Florida-bred colt (bred by Stonecliff Farm and sold for $70,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sale) is trained by Teresa Pompay, a Saratoga Springs native winning a Grade 1 race for the first time.

Trinniberg shot to the front of the Hopeful, run over a very sloppy racetrack, and set fractions of :21.91, :45.14 and 1:11.49 for the opening six furlongs under Cornelio Velasquez. Currency Swap was never far back under Rajiv Maragh, moved to take on the leader at the top of the stretch, but was hard-pressed to overcome the front-runner until the final sixteenth of a mile. He completed the distance in a very slow 1:26.16.

Currency Swap was making his second start, having won his career debut at Saratoga on Aug. 6 by six lengths. He is from the first crop of foals sired by High Cotton, a Grade 3 stakes winner who stands at Ocala Stud Farm in Florida. He paid $5.80 for the win as part of a favored entry with Clip the Coupons, who finished far back in ninth.

Trainer Robert Barbara told the Albany Times-Union after the Hopeful that JC's Pride, who was vanned off, appeared to be fine, and was walking comfortably back at his barn.

Equibase Chart

Teresa Pompay, winning trainer of Currency Swap (No. 1): “I don't even know how to describe it. I was so excited I thought I was going to pass out. This is my hometown. It's been exciting and fun because I knew I was bringing a good horse. This horse is so special. I'm so proud of him that he came through. So far he's handled everything we've thrown at him. The sloppy track was an unknown factor – I wanted to showcase him on a dry track, but he handled it fine. I thought the other horse [Trinniberg] would stop, but he kept on going. I guess he really liked the slop. My horse showed guts because even when the other horse pushed him out a little bit, he kept digging in. This is just the start, because now we can go forward from here. Obviously we'd like to do the Breeders' Cup; we have to decide whether he'll have a race in between, or give him the time. I think this horse is going to get better as he gets older, and I think he'll like the added distance as well.”
Note: This is the first Grade 1 victory for trainer Teresa Pompay, a native of Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Rajiv Maragh, winning jockey aboard Currency Swap (No. 1): “I tried to put him in a spot that was pretty ideal for me on the outside in the clear where my horse was really happy. The other horse put up a really strong challenge. I wasn't sure I was going to win it until after I had passed the wire.”
Seth Klarman (Klaravich Stables), owner of winner Currency Swap (No. 1): “We're ecstatic. It's been a long time between Grade 1s for us [last was Subordination in the Grade 1 Eddie Reed at Del Mar in 1998]. We were excited about this horse before he even ran. Nick de Meric picked him out. He runs the farm [Manuden Farm in Ocala, Fla.] where our babies grow up.

“We'll see how he comes out. His next spot, logically, will be the Champagne [Grade 1, $300,000, one mile on October 8 at Belmont Park].”
Bisnath Parboo, trainer of runner-up Trinniberg (No. 6): “Shoot. I thought we'd get it, but that's racing. The problem with this horse is the gate. He gets nervous in the gate. He weaves around. We have tried to get him in the gate and settled in. He's got a lot of speed and he's been training better every time. The older he gets and the more training he gets, he keeps improving. I don't know what happened to him in the Saratoga Special. I think he needed the experience of the mud. I think he'll run better going shorter than longer.”
Cornelio Velasquez, rider aboard runner-up Trinniberg (No. 6): “My horse broke well and went to the lead easy. He ran well, he liked the mud. The horse who beat me is a nice horse, too. My horse ran big.”

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