08/23/2012 2:23PM

Saratoga: Currency Swap has favorite surface in his favor vs. Trinniberg in King's Bishop

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Barbara D. Livingston
Currency Swap will face Trinniberg for the third time, with each winning one of the previous meetings.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Currency Swap and Trinniberg split their first two meetings and will square off in the rubber match as part of a highly competitive field of 10 3-year-old sprinters set to go seven furlongs in Saturday’s $500,000 King’s Bishop at Saratoga.

Currency Swap ran down Trinniberg to win the Grade 1 Hopeful here last summer. Trinniberg reversed that decision by outlasting Currency Swap to register a 1 3/4-length victory late this spring in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens at Belmont Park. Both those races were decided at seven furlongs, the same distance as the Grade 1 King’s Bishop.

Currency Swap has never lost at Saratoga, having won twice here at 2 and again earlier in the meet when he rallied from just off a very rapid pace to a decision over Doctor Chit in the Grade 2 Amsterdam. Currency Swap’s trainer, Terri Pompay, is hoping her horse’s affinity for the local surface will make the difference in the King’s Bishop.

“He’s doing really well. He came out of his last race good and he loves this track so I’m feeling pretty confident,” said Pompay by phone from Monmouth Park, where she and Currency Swap have been based this summer.

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Pompay does wish things might have worked out a little better at the post position draw, with Currency Swap breaking from post 3 and Trinniberg to begin on the outside from post 9. Doctor Chit, who helped set the blistering pace in the Amsterdam, breaks from post 10.

“Naturally I’d like to be more outside, but the fact the two main speed horses are next to each other and way outside is a good thing,” said Pompay. “Obviously my horse has to be there early. He doesn’t like to close from too far out of it. I just don’t want to be eyeball to eyeball with those other two.”

Trinniberg skipped the Amsterdam after being upset by Fort Loudon as the 1-5 favorite three weeks earlier in Calder’s Grade 3 Carry Back. Trinniberg bounced back from his 17th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby to run the best race of his career in the Woody Stephens, earning a 106 Beyer Speed Figure for his gate-to-wire triumph over Currency Swap.

“I’m very, very happy with our draw,” said Trinniberg’s owner, Shivananda Parbhoo. “I was hoping for anything seven or out and to not be close to Currency Swap. I know Doctor Chic is on our outside and I don’t know whether he’s going or not, but my horse is going to the lead, no doubt about it. They’re going to have to come catch me, and the way he’s training now I don’t think he’s going to stop, either. I think he’s going to run the best race of his career on Saturday. He’s feeling so good right now.”

Gun Boat could also be part of a fast pace, especially with the addition of blinkers for the King’s Bishop. Gun Boat was eliminated immediately after the start of the Amsterdam when stumbling to his nose two strides out of the gate.

A hot pace scenario would enhance the chances of several of the late-runners in the lineup, including Ever So Lucky, Unbridled’s Note, Fort Loudon, and perhaps even Willy Beamin if owner James Riccio and trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. decide to wheel their New York-bred back on just two days’ rest.

Ever So Lucky turns back in distance after finishing third in the 1 1/8-mile Curlin and should have plenty of late kick at seven furlongs. Ever So Lucky, who finished a distant third behind Trinniberg last winter in Gulfstream Park’s Grade 3 Swale, completed the final quarter of his half-mile work on Tuesday in 23.01 seconds under jockey John Velazquez.

Unbridled’s Note turned in an even effort to finish third while beaten two lengths by Currency Swap in the Amsterdam. He rallied to an easy optional claiming win going seven furlongs in his previous start, which came at Churchill Downs.

Fort Loudon stalked and then ran down Trinniberg to win the Carry Back, but lacked a late response when finishing fifth in the Amsterdam while making his first start for current trainer Nick Zito.

Willy Beamin tuned up for a potential start in the King’s Bishop with an easy victory here Wednesday in the Albany Stakes, his fifth consecutive win dating back to March 23 when he was claimed for $25,000 by Riccio at Aqueduct.