AMSTERDAM STAKES | PURSE: $200,000 | 3-YEAR-OLDS | GRADE 2 | 6 1/2 FURLONGS
Currency Swap showed his affinity for Saratoga Race Course July 29, making his first start since winning the 2011 Hopeful Stakes a profitable one when he dashed to victory in the $200,000 Amsterdam.
All three of the colt's career victories have come at the upstate New York oval, where he broke his maiden by six lengths before taking the Hopeful at the end of last season. His trainer Terri Pompay is a native of Saratoga Springs who said his next start will come in the $500,000 Foxwoods King's Bishop, a seven-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds on the Travers Stakes undercard Aug. 25.
A 3-year-old son of High Cotton who races for Klaravich Stable, Curreny Swap went off a 9-5 favorite in the Amsterdam against six other sophomore sprinters. He lived up to expectations in the 6 1/2-furlong test, pressing the pace in second and reeling in frontrunner Doctor Chit with a sixteenth to go before drawing off to win by 1 3/4 lengths in a final time of 1:15.33. Unbridled's Note finished a neck back in third.
"He's been doing really well," remarked a beaming Pompay. "It was like he was doing it easy. I'd rather have him sit and stalk than be on the pace."
That's exactly how the race played out, with Doctor Chit setting fast early fractions of :21.44 for the quarter and :44.04 for the half and Currency Swap prompting in the two path. Jockey Rajiv Maragh had the frontrunner in his sights coming around the turn through three-quarters in 1:08.65, and set his own mount down in a hard drive entering the stretch.
"These are good horses, and they're always going to run a fast pace just on their natural ability," Maragh remarked. "I wasn't concerned with the pace. I just wanted to have a clean trip and be in a striking position, regardless of how fast they were going. I got a good outside trip on Doctor Chit. I just stalked, and pounced."
Currency Swap was second to Trinniberg last time out in the June 9 Woody Stephens (gr. I) at Belmont Park. Bred in Kentucky by Stonecliff Farm out of the Pine Bluff mare Echo Bluff, he has two seconds in addition to the trio of victories, with earnings of $448,300.
"He's a real amazing horse," said Maragh. "He does all of the running. He's a pretty strong horse. He's got a lot of speed. All of the way, he was giving me a lot of energy and came on strong. He always keeps showing up for good races."
Jockey Ramon Dominguez said he was satisfied with the effort of Doctor Chit, trained by Todd Pletcher.
"I was very happy with the way my horse ran," he said. "Considering they were going fast, he was relaxed. He did everything beautifully; he came away from there like a rocket. He's got a lot of ability, that's for sure. Unfortunately, he ran into a very nice horse in the winner today."
Currency Swap paid $5.60, $3.20 and $2.60, Doctor Chit returned $3 and $2.60, and Unbridled's Note brought $5.40. Laurie's Rocket, Fort Loudon, Gun Boat, and Politicallycorrect completed the order of finish. Gun Boat lost all chance at the break when he fell to his face start and spotted the field a lengthy gap all the way around.