07/05/2013 2:48PM

Monmouth Park notes: Currency Swap nearing return after throat surgery

Barbara D. Livingston
Currency Swap has been inactive since the Gallant Bob last September.

OCEANPORT, N.J. – Currency Swap, on the comeback trail following extensive throat surgery, should soon return to action.

The winner of the 2011 Grade 1 Hopeful at Saratoga has been sidelined since finishing seventh in the Gallant Bob Stakes at Parx Racing last September.

“He’s getting there,” trainer Terri Pompay said Friday at Monmouth Park. “He’s pretty much ready to go. Perhaps one more breeze, and then we’ll look for an allowance race at Saratoga to get him started. Something not too hard because he hasn’t run in so long. He’s doing fine. It’s just been a long time.”

The 4-year-old is 3 for 4 at Saratoga, where he captured his debut before stepping up to win the Hopeful. He returned last summer to take the Grade 2 Amsterdam before finishing sixth in the Grade 1 King’s Bishop as the 9-5 favorite.

The Gallant Bob was the next and final stop of the season, as a breathing problem compromised his performance.

Currency Swap underwent tie-back surgery, a laryngoplasty in which a paralyzed flapper is stitched into an open position so a horse can receive normal airflow.

“One flapper was hanging down,” Pompay said. “It wasn’t opening and closing. He was only getting half his air. He was making a noise last summer because he wasn’t abducting all the way. You could see it was getting worse. It can come suddenly or gradual; his was more gradual. You could see at Parx when it came time to really kick in, he was running with his head up. He was trying, but he couldn’t get anywhere.”

The corrective surgery is potentially career-hampering.

“They go in and stitch it [the flapper] to the wall,” Pompay said. “Usually horses don’t come back to be what they were.”

While recovering from the throat procedure, Currency Swap also had surgery to remove an ankle chip.

“We cleaned everything up,” Pompay said. “We just gave him the time with the goal of having the summer and the fall with him. Maybe he can win another big race and we can sell him as a stallion prospect.”

Mongeon’s summer humming

It’s been a delightful summer at Monmouth for trainer Kathy Mongeon as Hobbs and Don’s Peach, two former claimers, have come through with wins.

Mongeon is hoping to bag a couple of stakes before this season is done.

Hobbs, a $50,000 acquisition last summer, won stakes at Aqueduct and Tampa Bay Downs for the new barn. He captured a third-level allowance here last week.

“You can really see the difference after he wins,” Mongeon said. “It picks his head up. He gets angry when he gets beat.”

Mongeon will now point the 4-year-old gelding, shod with four glue-on shoes, to the Grade 3 Oceanport Stakes on July 28.

Don’s Peach, a $6,250 bargain claim in February, won the Open Mind Handicap for New Jersey-bred fillies and mares last month.

Mongeon is giving her a breather until the Eleven North Handicap for statebreds on Sept. 21.

“It’s great when they win a stakes for you, and at the same time they make themselves a future as a broodmare,” Mongeon said.

Onwer-breeder Kligman dead

Longtime owner and breeder Joel Kligman died Wednesday night after a lengthy battle with Parkinson’s disease. He was 79.

Kligman was builder/developer who owned several Holiday Inns. His top runners included Zoom, Bezique, Soho Sunday, and Jersey Giant, a multiple stakes winner at Monmouth Park.

When Richiefromshoprite won last month’s Dan Horn Handicap at Monmouth, the victory extended Kligman’s streak of having won at least one race to 55 straight years.

Kligman was named the 2009 recipient of Monmouth’s Virgil “Buddy” Raines Distinguished Achievement Award.