Unbeaten 3-year-old colts Currency Swap and Gemologist will make their respective 2012 debuts in the third race March 16 at Gulfstream Park.
Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence’s Currency Swap, 2-for-2 for trainer Terri Pompay, captured the Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga in his 2011 finale. WinStar Farm’s Gemologist, 3-for-3 for trainer Todd Pletcher, won the Kentucky Jockey Club (gr. II) at Churchill Downs in his last race as a juvenile.
“It came up tough with Todd’s horse in there,” said Pompay of the $80,000 allowance race for 3-year-olds. “My horse is a monster, but so is Todd’s horse.”
Jockey Rajiv Maragh, named to ride by Pompay, guided Currency Swap to a debut maiden tally and a victory in the Hopeful last summer. Both races were at Saratoga. The son of High Cotton was a $70,000 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling purchase. The form of his Hopeful victory was flattered when runner-up Trinniberg scored a six-length romp in Gulfstream’s Swale Stakes (gr. II) March 10.
Currency Swap is the 9-5 second choice on the morning line in a field of five. He tuned up for his one-mile return with a sharp six-furlong workout in 1:11 2/5 handily from the starting gate at Gulfstream Park March 10. It was his seventh work over the track since Jan. 28.
“That was a fantastic work, way above expectations,” Pompay said. “He did it easily. He hardly took a drink of water cooling out.”
Leading rider Javier Castellano has the assignment for Pletcher on Gemologist, the 8-5 favorite. Castellano was aboard in the colt's final two starts last fall, winning an allowance race at Churchill prior to the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. Gemologist broke his maiden in his debut Sept. 24 at Turfway Park. The son of Tiznow was a $310,000 Keeneland November weanling purchase in 2009.
Gemologist's most recent work came at Palm Meadows Training Center March 12. He was timed in :49.77 breezing for a half-mile. He has had six workouts at Palm Meadows since Feb. 5.
Completing the field are Angel Quiroz’ Jordan's Image, Joe Rocco Jr.; Steve Dwoskin’s Brother Pat, Elvis Trujillo; and E. Paul Robsham’s Angel's Tune, John Velazquez. The latter, at 3-1 on the morning line, is also trained by Pletcher and will be ridden by John Velazquez.