An impressive six-length debut winner at Saratoga on August 6, Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence's Currency Swap had to work a bit harder to take the Grade 1, $250,000 Hopeful on Saratoga's closing-day program on Monday. Chasing a blistering pace set by 68-1 outsider Trinniberg on the sloppy going, Currency Swap advanced from fourth to second after a quarter-mile, remained a length or so behind the longshot until the sixteenth pole, then finally wore down the speedster in the final stages to take the Hopeful by three parts of a length. Bet down to 9-5 favoritism in the final minutes, Currency Swap returned $5.80, $3.40 and $2.60.
Alert from the stalls under Rajiv Maragh, Currency Swap was only 2 1/2 lengths behind at the first call as Trinniberg lit up the opening quarter in :21 4/5. The pace slowed down a bit approaching the far turn as Trinniberg and Currency Swap began to separate themselves from the rest of the field, the former clicking off a half-mile in :45. Indeed, no one else was able to make up serious ground thereafter under the very wet conditions.
Trinniberg proved a resilient foe through the stretch and appeared at times as if was about to post a monster upset, but Currency Swap showed class and heart to wear down his determined foe. He completed seven furlongs in 1:26.
"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," Maragh said. "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."
Trinniberg has 3 3 /4 lengths on Big Blue Nation, a clear third at 11-1. In a largely spread-out field, Laurie's Rocket, Power World, I'll Have Another, Hunt Crossing, Vexor, and the winner's entrymate Clip the Coupons completed the order of finish. Second choice J C's Pride, who had been the favorite through much of the wagering, was pulled up around the turn and was vanned off.
"I don't even know how to describe it. I was so excited I thought I was going to pass out," said winning trainer Terri Pompay, a native of Saratoga Springs, New York. "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.
"Obviously we'd like to do the Breeders' Cup (Juvenile); 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."
Co-owner Seth Klarman, of Klaravich Stable, said afterwards that the October 8 Grade 1 Champagne would be a "logical" next spot for Currency Swap, who has now bankrolled $180,000 from his two wins.
Bred in Florida by Stonecliff Farm, Currency Swap was a $70,000 Fasig-Tipton July yearling. The High Cotton colt is the first stakes winner produced by the unraced Echo Bluff, who has also reared a yearling full sister to the Hopeful winner. Echo Bluff was produced by the Grade 3 winner You'renotlistening, making her a full sister to multiple stakes winner Your Bluffing and a half-sister to the Grade 2-placed Nacho Friend. This is also the family of Grade 3 winner Black Jack Road.