07/24/2013 4:21PM

Saratoga: Currency Swap returns in Friday opener

Barbara D. Livingston
Currency Swap, seen training at Saratoga on Wednesday, faces a short field in Friday's $90,000 optional-claiming sprint.

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Currency Swap will launch yet another comeback when he takes on five rivals in Friday’s opener, a $90,000 optional-claiming dash carded at six furlongs.

Currency Swap has won three of his four starts at Saratoga, including victories at 2 and 3 in the Grade 1 Hopeful and the Grade 2 Amsterdam. But trainer Terri Pompay also has had to stop on the son of High Cotton twice, first to remove a chip from his ankle shortly after the Hopeful and again last fall to repair a breathing issue caused by a paralyzed larynx that required tie-back throat surgery.

“His breathing was starting to fail even when he won the Amsterdam,” said Pompay, who is based at Monmouth Park during the summer. “The surgery was a success, but we just wanted to make sure we gave him plenty of time to recuperate so we’d have him ready for the summer and fall.”

Currency Swap has been training steadily for his return at Monmouth, where he’s had six recorded works since May 15, including a bullet half-mile in 48.80 seconds July 10.

“His works have been good here at Monmouth over a deep track,” Pompay said. “But he’s a big, heavy horse, so while he appears to be ready to go, as a trainer, you always question whether he might need a race. I really would have liked to have gotten a prep like this into him at Belmont, but he really needed one more breeze from the gate, and I figured we didn’t rush him the whole way back, so I wasn’t going to rush him the last part.”

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Pompay said that if Currency Swap runs well Friday, she’d probably look at bringing him back in the Grade 1 Forego at the end of the meet.

Currency Swap will face a familiar rival Friday in Doctor Chit, who finished second after setting the pace to late stretch in the 2012 Amsterdam. Doctor Chit returned from an extended vacation of his own to finish a well-beaten second as the 4-5 favorite under midlevel optional-claiming conditions to launch his 2013 campaign last month at Monmouth.