Thursday, August 23, 2012


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – The connections might try to play down a budding rivalry, but there is little question Trinniberg vs. Currency Swap is one of the best confrontations in racing.

The two colts will meet for a third time Saturday in the Grade 1, $500,000 Foxwoods King’s Bishop, a seven-furlong race for 3-year-olds, and if the grudge match is anything like their first two meetings, the race should be a highlight of the Travers Day card.

“Like I said before, it doesn’t matter who is in the race behind me,” said Shivananda Parbhoo, owner of Trinniberg, the 7-2 second choice on the morning line.

Currency Swap’s trainer Terri Pompay, like Parbhoo, didn’t want to get into a protracted conversation about a showdown in the Foxwoods King’s Bishop, which drew 10 runners.

“Everybody’s making it seem like that; they’re trying to make it into a rivalry,” Pompay said of her 5-2 favorite. “I’d love to beat him, and I think I can beat him.”

The Foxwoods King’s Bishop is one of the featured races on the Travers card that also includes the Grade 1 Test and the Grade 2 Ballston Spa presented by Jose Cuervo. NBC will provide live coverage from 4 – 6 p.m.

Currency Swap, winner of four of seven career starts, is 3-for-3 at Saratoga. The son of High Cotton drew immediate notice with a smashing six-length score in his debut last August at the Spa and then faced Trinniberg for the first time in the Grade 1 Three Chimneys Hopeful.

Trinniberg, who won his debut impressively at Calder, came into the Three Chimneys Hopeful off a fifth-place performance, struggling home 26 lengths behind the winner, when wide on a sloppy track in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special. Parbhoo’s father, trainer Bisnath Parboo, nevertheless brought Trinniberg back for the Three Chimneys Hopeful.

Sent off at odds of 68-1, the son of Teuflesberg ripped through torrid fractions on the front end, while Currency Swap steadily gained ground, catching Trinniberg in deep stretch to win by three-quarters of a length.

Both horses continued to establish their credentials and met again June 9 in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens presented by at Belmont Park. In that race, Trinniberg set another wicked pace and Currency Swap chased in second the entire way around the track.

Subsequently, Currency Swap won the Grade 2 Amsterdam on July 29 at the Spa, and Trinniberg was upset at short odds in the Grade 3 Carry Back at Calder.

“In the Woody Stephens, my plan wasn’t to go after him, but no one else did, so we had to,” Pompay said. “There will be more speed in here. My horse likes to break right in the game but not get run off his feet. I’m hoping Trinniberg can go out in front and someone can prompt him.

“I hope he runs a great race. I’m more ready to get on with it than nervous.”

Parhboo said Trinniberg was meant to run in the Amsterdam but wound up in the Carry Back to help his hometown track, Calder, fill a race that only drew five participants. He said his colt wasn’t primed for the race in which Foxwoods King’s Bishop entrant Fort Loudon nailed him on the line.

“For him not to be ready and to run a race like that, it was amazing for that,” he said. “We were totally not prepared for the Carry Back, but now there is no excuse. He is 100 percent ready.”

In Fort Loudon, Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito knows he has a horse fast enough to defeat Trinniberg. A fifth-place finish in the Amsterdam was the Fred Brei-bred and owned colt’s first run for Zito after making his first 14 starts for Florida-based trainer Stanley Gold.

“He’s a nice horse,” Zito said of Fort Loudon, 12-1 on the morning line. “Obviously, I would have liked to wait for this race, but we [ran in the Amsterdam] and got a work over the track. So be it. The horse looks good; he likes it here, so we’re going for it.”

Zito also will be represented by Robert LaPenta’s Spin Out (20-1), second last out in a Spa allowance race.

Another Hall of Famer, D. Wayne Lukas, believes he has a contender in Laurie’s Rocket, 20-1 on the morning line. In her final start in June for trainer Dallas Stewart, the Bluegrass Cat colt finished ninth behind Trinniberg in the Woody Stephens. In his first start for Lukas, Laurie’s Rocket was 2 ¼ lengths behind Currency Swap in the Amsterdam.

“He needed the race,” Lukas said. “He got pretty tired. I’ll hopefully have him a little tighter this time. I know a lot more about him now. Whether he’s Grade 1 material, it remains to be seen, but that’s with all of them. I like him a lot more this time. I think he’ll finish up better.”

Lightly raced Doctor Chit, who made the pace in the Amsterdam before finishing second to Currency Swap, returns for the Foxwoods King’s Bishop. Trained by Todd Pletcher for Nicholas Brady’s Mill House, the son of War Front has won three of five starts and is 5-1 on the line

Gun Boat, a powerful allowance winner two races back at Betfair Hollywood Park for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, has remained at Saratoga to prepare for the Foxwoods King’s Bishop since his sixth-place finish in the Amsterdam.

In that race, the Congrats colt fell to his face at the start, costing him any chance of victory. He is 5-1 for the Foxwoods King’s Bishop.

Willy Beamin (10-1), who won the 1 1/8-mile Albany for New York-breds on Wednesday, was entered to run by trainer Richard Dutrow.

“If Rick says, ‘Let’s do it’ then, you know, we’ll do it,” said owner James Riccio after the Albany. “It’s all up to Rick. We’ve won at seven-eighths [in the Mike Lee Stakes on June 24], we’ll cut back and maybe we’ll get lucky. I’m not saying we’re going to win or anything, but he’ll show up. To be here Saturday is a great day.”

Completing the field are Unbridled’s Note (10-1), a close-up third in the Amsterdam; and Ever So Lucky (12-1), third in the recent 1 1/8-mile Curlin Stakes at the Spa for Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard.

Comments (0)

BallHype: hype it up!

Read more articles in the Saratoga category.