Illinois Derby 2012 Preview – Can Currency Swap go the distance?

The winner of the Grade 3, $500,000 Illinois Derby will grab enough graded cash to make the starting gate in Kentucky Derby 2012 and morning line favorite Currency Swap tries two turns for the first time.

Currency Swap

Will Currency Swap handle two turns? - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

#4 Currency Swap (4-1), the 2011 G1 Hopeful winner, recently returned from an injury and finished a distant 2nd behind G1 Wood Memorial favorite Gemologist. He has some distance influences on the dam side (Pine Bluff) and looms a pace factor at the very least. He could regress 2nd off the shelf and might not want to go this far at less than ideal odds.

#11 Our Entourage (9-2) is 0-for-2 on dirt and gets one shot at Derby glory for Repole/Pletcher. He appears better on turf but this race is wide open and anything can happen. Won’t offer enough value for wagering purposes but he is not without a shot.

#8 Z Rockstar (10-1) is my value oriented top choice for Donnie Von Hemel. The improving son of Rockport Harbor earned the best last race number in a sharp optional claiming tally at Oaklawn Park and projects a stalk and pounce trip under Quincy Hamilton. He is back in three weeks and can compete here if able to duplicate his last.

#12 Morgan’s Guerilla (10-1) is 2-for-2 and looms an early presence under Rosie Napravnik. Other early runners include Private Terms runner-up #2 Hakama (6-1).

Horses with tactical ability include #1 Romancing The Gold (15-1), #3 Ring It Up (15-1), #5 Pretension (5-1), #6 Skyring (20-1), #9 Fastestwhogetspaid (30-1), #10 Frankie Is Rock (30-1), and #14 Slamit (30-1). NY-bred Pretension might be the best of the pressers.

The late runners are #7 Saturday Launch (15-1) and #13 Done Talking (20-1).

#15 Explain (20-1), #16 Arm Force (15-1), and #17 Defiant Flyer (30-1) are also-eligibles and need help drawing into the body of the race.

The Plays:

$20 to win/Place #8 Z Rockstar

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