09/30/2011 4:52PM

Belmont: Currency Swap to pass on Champagne

Barbara D. Livingston
Currency Swap will train up to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Immediately following Currency Swap’s victory in the Grade 1 Hopeful at Saratoga on Sept. 5, trainer Terri Pompay said it would be her wish to train her undefeated 2-year-old colt up to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Four weeks later, that remains Pompay’s plan and though Currency Swap is among the 29 nominees for next Saturday’s Grade 1, $300,000 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park, he will not be running. This even though the field will not include the sharp debut winner Fire On Ice, who is done for the year with a condylar fracture.

“We had made our decision not to do it, and even though its coming up a little lighter than expected we’re going to stick with the plan,” Pompay said. “We felt he had two hard races in a month and we wanted to space his races out more. We’d like to win the Breeders’ Cup and have something left for next year.”

Currency Swap is based at Monmouth Park, where last Sunday he worked four furlongs in 50 seconds. He is expected to work again early next week and will likely ship to Churchill Downs on Oct. 28, in time to get one work over the track.

Thomas to work for Pletcher’s dad

Jonathan Thomas, who has worked as Todd Pletcher’s New York-based assistant trainer for the last three years, will start working at Jake Pletcher’s Payton Training Center in Ocala, Fla. beginning Sunday. Jake is Todd’s father.

Thomas will help break young horses as well as take care of horses getting time off.

“J’J’s a fantastic horseman, I’m really looking forward to working with him,” Thomas, 31, said. “Technically, I’m still working for Todd. I’m on call for him.”

During Thomas’s time in New York, Pletcher won two Aqueduct winter training titles.

“Our last two winters were excellent, a lot of good horses came out of our winter organization we won a lot of races,” Thomas said. “For a young guy trying to learn, there’s no better place than to work for Todd in New York during the winter.”

Whit Beckman will serve as Pletcher’s New York-based assistant trainer.