03/10/2012 1:16PM

Gulfstream Park: Currency Swap works toward return

Barbara D. Livingston
Currency Swap could make his return to the races in either an allowance race at Gulfstream Park or the Private Terms next weekend at Laurel.

At Gulfstream, Currency Swap made a strong appearance working six furlongs from the gate in 1:11.55 with jockey Rajiv Maragh aboard. Currency Swap, idle since winning the Grade 1 Hopeful six months earlier, completed his opening quarter in a leisurely 25 seconds after leaving the gate with a pair of workmates. He then picked up the pace with each successive eighth, posting splits of 47.84 seconds for a half and 59.47 for five furlongs while easily pulling away from his company under only mild encouragement from Maragh.

“We haven’t really been asking too much of him before this morning,” trainer Terri Pompay said. “We’ve just been having him kind of poke along and get himself together. But he knew when we had Rajiv on him and headed back to the gate that it was time to do his job, and I thought he was awesome. He galloped out strong, wasn’t even blowing hard when he pulled up, and didn’t drink a bucket of water cooling out.”

Pompay said her immediate options for Currency Swap are either an allowance race locally or the Private Terms next weekend at Laurel.

“I hoped we could have made the Swale, but I just ran out of time,” Pompay said. “He never missed a work, there just wasn’t enough time. I don’t want to throw him to the wolves the first time back by running him two turns in the Rebel or Florida Derby. But I’d like to get a race into him, so we can think about something like the Wood or Illinois Derby next month.”

◗ Exothermic, who launched his career locally with a couple of impressive turf victories earlier this winter, has suffered a minor setback and will not run here again this meet. Exothermic, a son of Empire Maker, was conspicuous by his absence when entries were drawn for Sunday’s Grade 3 Palm Beach.

“The plans were to run in the Palm Beach, but he had a small setback and missed two weeks of training,” trainer George “Rusty” Arnold said. “It’s not a major problem, very minor in fact, but the timing was very bad. He’s back in training now, and if he comes back and does everything right, he’ll probably run at Keeneland. He’s nominated for the Blue Grass, but if he can’t make that, we’ll look at the Lexington.”