05/12/2010 1:50PM

Hollywood Hit, Lots of questions


Racing fans cannot be faulted if they are underwhelmed by the current state of the sprint division.  Aside from Royal Ascot-bound Kinsale King, the winner of the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen, the rest of the runners featured in the Watchmaker Watch Top 10 in the May 11 edition of Daily Racing Form are either unproven at the very top level, or have disappointed in recent starts. 

Vineyard Haven (#1) only shows a solitary three-furlong breeze in 2010.  Cash Refund (#3) has yet to start in a graded stakes.  Gayego (#4) and Euroears (#10) are both winless in their last three races.  Capt. Candyman Can (#5) is on the Disabled List.   Atta Boy Roy (#9) earned his graded victory against Warrior's Reward (#6) and Musket Man (#7) over sloppy going.  Custom for Carlos (#8) lacks Grade 1 experience.

If you're searching for a new shooter in what appears a wide-open division, look no further than Hollywood Hit, a four-year-old gelding that has finished first in his last six races, including a track-record performance in last Sunday's Vigil Stakes over Woodbine's Polytrack surface. 

Hollywood Hit is an Oklahoma-bred son of the undefeated Cactus Ridge, who went 4 for 4 as a two-year-old of 2003.  Cactus Ridge's big win came in the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Futurity around a one-turn mile at Arlington Park. 

The dam, Solid Hit (by Time for a Change), failed to win after 12 career starts, but has already foaled stakes-winning sprinters Homefield Hit (98 Beyer in winning the Remington Park Sprint Championship in 2001) and Hosanna Hit (won the six-furlong Silver Spur Breeders' Cup at Lone Star in 2005).  Solid Hit has also dropped The Hitman, a stakes-placed sprinter at six furlongs at Oaklawn Park. 

Hollywood Hit failed to win in his first three races for owner-breeder-trainer C. R. Trout before graduating in gate-to-wire fashion over "good" going in a six-furlong maiden special weight at Oaklawn Park on March 14, 2009.  He hinted at some potential in this race as he set a pressured pace along the rail before putting the betting favorite away on the turn.

Nineteen days later, Hollywood Hit returned to the track in an entry-level optional claimer in the slop.  He ran another good race, putting away an early pace challenger before falling three-quarters of a length short behind Kensei.  That foe proved his quality with a pair of graded stakes wins in New York during the summer of 2009. 

Hollywood Hit wore front wraps for his next start, a "non-winners of one other than" allowance at Lone Star on May 8, but he continued to improve, stopping the teletimer in 1:08.31 for the 7 3/4 length romp.  Hollywood Hit again faced early pressure, but was clear turning for home, and he won with a minimum of fuss despite being a tad late with his final lead change. 

The facile 100 Beyer victory attracted tons of attention and Hollywood Hit was purchased privately by Peter Redekop.  Hollywood Hit was shipped north of the border and placed under the care of high-percentage trainer Terry Jordan.  He hasn't finished behind another horse during his time in Canada. 

Despite a lack of synthetic experience, Hollywood Hit was sent off as the preferred part of an odds-on coupled entry in a seven-furlong 'n2x' optional claimer at Woodbine on July 19.  He simply ran his rivals off his feet, opening up a big lead after a swift quarter of 22.18 before allowing them an opportunity to catch up after a half of 44.80.  For a brief moment turning for home, it looked like the field would swallow up Hollywood Hit, but he kept to his task, winning by 1 1/2 lengths over a group that included a pair of next-out winners and a next-out stakes-placed runner. 

Jordan kept things fairly conservative with Hollywood Hit, next entering his charge in a six-furlong allowance race at Woodbine on August 12.  Hollywood Hit found his customary spot at the head of affairs and polished off the field with a final eighth in 11.88.  El Brujo, the next-out winner of the Kentucky Cup Sprint at Turfway Park, finished four lengths behind in second.

Jordan considered the Kentucky Cup for Hollywood Hit's next appearance, but he is reluctant to ship outside of Canada.  Outside of two stateside starts in 2008, the Jordan barn has competed exclusively in Canada.  Instead of the Kentucky Cup, Hollywood Hit ran in the King Corrie Stakes at six furlongs on September 30.  After blazing a half-mile in 43.68, Hollywood Hit completed his final eighth in 11.95 to win by 5 1/2 lengths in track record time of 1:07.38. 

Hollywood Hit may have been considered for the Breeders' Cup Sprint over the Pro-Ride surface at Santa Anita, but those plans were derailed after he tested positive for the class 3 drug acepromazine, a sedative used for shipping and training purposes.  Not only was Hollywood Hit disqualified from the King Corrie purse money, but the horse was banned from racing in Ontario for 90 days.  With other jurisdictions expected to honor the ban, Hollywood Hit's three-year-old season was over in October. 

After wintering in Florida, Hollywood Hit returned to the races in the six-furlong Jacques Cartier Stakes at Woodbine on April 11.  He was sent off the 1-2 favorite in a salty field that included El Brujo and Field Commission, the 2009 Sovereign Award winner for best sprinter.  Danny O'Callaghan saddled Hollywood Hit in place of the suspended Jordan and Hollywood Hit again made the pace throughout.  He was challenged late by Field Commission, but held on to win by a diminishing half-length. 

The Jacques Cartier was a good prep for the Grade 3 (Canadian) Vigil at seven furlongs and Hollywood Hit couldn't have been sharper last Sunday.  He not only humbled Field Commission in the Vigil, but he dominated Fatal Bullet, Canada's Horse of the Year in 2008 following a runner-up effort in the Breeders' Cup Sprint.  Hollywood Hit, back in the Jordan barn, asserted his dominance early under regular rider Jim McAleney and he kept on trucking through a grueling second quarter-mile in 21.64.  He turned for home in control and drew off to win by three lengths in track record time of 1:20.07.  He received a 114 Beyer for the effort and must have galloped out about ten lengths in front on the clubhouse turn.   

What's next for Hollywood Hit?  While a run at a Sovereign Award is certainly tempting, Hollywood Hit might be up for graded stakes competition in the United States.  Although his speed has set him apart from the pack over synthetics, he is a proven winner on dirt and acts like he would get a one-turn mile.  If the hits keep on coming and the gelding continues in good form, a run in the Breeders' Cup Sprint isn't out of the question.
(Performance of the Week is now featured in National Simulcast Weekly)


Dan (or any formblogger):
Has anyone seen hide or hair of Captain Candyman Candy? Wilkes had him working at Palm Meadows this early winter, but nothing in my horse watch since a slow 5 furlong breeze on Feb 23rd, fast track 103.40. Hope nothing went afoul with this good guy.
Keith L

Capt. Candyman Can is currently listed as Row #16 on the Disabled List (located on the right hand side of the blog).  He had surgery to remove a knee chip and is pointing for a Fall return. 
The DL, as with just about everything else I'm associated with, is a bit behind schedule right now.  I'll catch up eventually.


After watching the video replay a few times I noticed that Conveyance switched leads a few times during the second eighth of a mile.  Does this indicate distraction, looking into the crowd, disaffection for the surface, or was he just startled by Sidney's Candy pulling up along side him at the 8th pole the first time around?  I'm not a physical handicapping expert by any means but would appreciate any take on those lead changes.
Ice Box continues to have big problems switching leads and it may have cost him.  Surely he can run faster when he switches. What could be the reason for this, is he too big, too fast, is there a problem?

In Conveyance's case, it could be any one of the issues you mentioned.  It could also mean the beginning of a physical problem, fatigue, or simply inexperience. 

The same with Ice Box.  His failure to change leads may indicate continued "green" behavior, fatigue, a physical issue, or he's simply a type of horse (Alydar) that doesn't do it.  I usually take a negative stance on horses that have problems with their lead changes, but some horses are effective without doing so.


Dan, what state was STATELY VICTOR sold in? Not too familiar with that sale.
Didn't Drosselmeyer break his maiden at CD in a 1 turn mile?
Captain Bodgit

Stately Victor sold for $250,000 (tops of the sale) at the Adena Springs Spring sale for 2-year-olds in training.  The sale is conducted in Florida.  It is a yearly dispersal of Frank Stronach's stock.

Drosselmeyer did win his maiden in a one-turn mile at Churchill on 11/18/09 (off the turf race)


Thanks for all the Beyer figure info, Dan. Is there any source for getting the Beyer figures for all the Derby finishers? It is of interest to know which of the contenders ran there best ever Beyer, which equaled it, and which fell below it.
Dan Baedeker

Dan Baedeker,
This is from Simulcast Daily - well worth the subscription price BTW!:
1 - SUPER SAVER 8.00-1 BEYER: 104
Previous three Beyers: 98-93-93
T: Todd A. Pletcher (349-94 .26) J: Calvin H. Borel (298-58 .19)
2 - Ice Box 11.70-1 BEYER: 100
Previous three Beyers: 99-86-89
T: Nicholas P. Zito (177-30 .16) J: Jose Lezcano (310-51 .16)
3 - Paddy O'Prado 12.30-1 BEYER: 100
Previous three Beyers: 87-93-74
T: Dale L. Romans (155-24 .15) J: Kent J. Desormeaux (267-46 .17)
 ALSO RAN: Make Music for Me(97), Noble's Promise(95), Lookin At Lucky(94), Dublin(93), Stately Victor(91), Mission Impazible(88), Devil May Care(87), American Lion(77), Jackson Bend(77), Discreetly Mine(67), Dean's Kitten(62), Conveyance(41), Homeboykris(26), Sid.
(I can fill in the last few, since Simulcast Daily stopped there: Sidney's Candy=26, Line of David=17, Awesome Act=16, Backtalk=2)


Use the drop down to select the year. I don't remember there ever being more than 20 runners - but then again I lose my glasses and keys about every two hours...
I am perplexed by the PP's of #9 DINNER WITH NIKKI C in the 8th race at Hollywood tomorrow. Her trainer stat for turf sprints shows "TurfSprints (7 .00 $0.00)" yet she just won on the downhill on February 13th and there has been no change in barns. ???
Steve T.

There were 21 runners in the 1981 (Pleasant Colony) Derby, 21 in 1974 (Cannonade), 21 in 1929 (Clyde Van Dusen), 22 in 1928 (Reigh Count), and 21 in 1923 (Zev).

The turf sprint information is interesting and rather odd.  "Turf sprints" are categorized as races on grass up to and including 6 furlongs.  Turf races at 6 1/2 furlongs to 7 1/2 furlongs are categorized under the "sprint" listing. 

I don't understand it, either.


Thanks so much for the "Deluxe" information!!  Have you heard anything about Hasili's 2yo filly by Empire Maker??

All I know is that the unnamed filly was sent to France last year and will likely begin her career overseas.


Hey Dan can i get ice box's pps..i want to see the comments from the derby
Sabrina Mohabir

Here they are:

Download Ice Box

The chart for the Derby shows these comments for Ice Box:

"Steadied early in traffic, was outrun for six furlongs, made a bold inside run leaving the three furlong marker, steadied when blocked nearing the stretch, angled out, steadied for a sixteenth of a mile once in the stretch, swung out near the furlong marker for a clear path then closed a late gap to be steadily getting to the winner late."


Dan, could you post PINE ISLAND'S pp's please. I believe STREAKER is a full or half to her. She was a grinder. No doubt she would have circled the field on cup day had she not took a bad step.

Here are the past performances for Streaker's half-sister, the ill-fated Pine Island:

Download Pine Island


Charles Fipke is listed as the breeder of the broodmare Fully Confident (A.P. Indy-Successfully by Affirmed). Is Fipke also the owner.
Calvin L. Carter

Fully Confident was sold for $130,000 (in foal to Thunder Gulch) to R. J. Bennett agent at the 2006 Keeneland November Breeding Sale. 


In the Railbird at Hollywood Park on Sunday, Espinoza had Southern Fireball out to an easy lead (:23 first quarter) with no one to his inside except for Tanda about 3 lengths back. Yet, Espinoza didn't drop completely onto the rail and instead left a huge hole for Tanda to come through after about 3 furlongs, and Solis shot her through the opening and the race was over.  It didn't look like Southern Fireball was drifting out, so my question is why would Espinoza allow this?  And it seems to happen a lot in racing, when you'd think the jockey on a leader with plenty of clearance would drop down onto the rail, but instead they often leave room for someone to come up inside of them for no apparent reason.  Do some jockeys just dislike riding that close to the rail? Or is it that some horses dislike the rail, and the jockeys are less in control of their mounts than we all think? 
Does anyone know anything about trainer Brad Cox?  His numbers are ridiculous.  He's 10 for 29 on the year, including 4 for 9 at Delaware.  His 1st-off-the-claim stats are 47% with an ROI of $6.65...
He's got 2 runners Wednesday (3rd & 7th) at Delaware that he claimed at Oaklawn Park last out and is dropping them more than half in price for their respective races.  Is that his move?  Is he the latest "supertrainer" that may or may not be clean? Just curious.  I don't want to throw his runners out if the guy does this all the time...

There are many possible reasons as to why he didn't secure the inside.  Perhaps he thought the rail wasn't the place to be on the main track.  Perhaps he was instructed by the trainer to stay off the inside.  Maybe the horse doesn't like racing on top of the rail?  It could be many things but it is frustrating for the bettors that want to see a rider take the shortest path around. 
After watching the race again, it didn't look like Espinoza was interested in making the lead.  He broke well, made the front, and waited for Tanda to take over.

Due to the reduction of dates at Ellis Park, Cox and other Kentucky-based trainers took a shot at Delaware in 2009.  Last year, Cox went 7-26 (26%, $2.26 ROI) at Delaware Park.  According to DRF stats, here are his yearly records since 2004:

2004:  1-3 (33%, $6.00 ROI)
2005:  20-87 (22%, $2.03 ROI)
2006:  12-98 (12%, $1.00 ROI)
2007:  9-71 (12%, $0.93 ROI)
2008:  10-49 (20%, $4.60 ROI)
2009:  18-92 (19%, $1.82 ROI)

From Byron King's "Trainer Profile" posted on drf.com on 6/15/09:



Since it's Preakness week Dan I have a small favor to ask of ya. Can you post the lifetime pp's for a horse named Roanoke River Rain?  In the mid 2000's he won a race at Pimlico on Preakness week 3yrs in a row, and at odds of 70-1, 15-1 and 15-1.  I finally caught on in year three.  Anyway, thanks in advance, he is a horse I always think of this time of year.

Here they are:

Download Roanoke River Rain


Congrats to Mike for finishing first in last week's HG exercise.  This week's HG race is the Preakness.  I'm posting this before the draw but you can look at the past performances on our Preakness page.

Back tomorrow with last week's top Beyers and an early HG analysis (I'll be departing early Friday afternoon for lovely Delaware Park, where Mike Beer and I will conduct a handicapping seminar on Preakness morning).