04/10/2010 11:00PM

Top sprinters face off in Jacques Cartier


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Field Commission got the nod over El Brujo and Hollywood Hit in the 2009 Sovereign Award voting for Canadian champion sprinter. All three were entered Sunday at Woodbine in the $150,000 Jacques Cartier Stakes, in which El Brujo could get the better of those two opponents.

El Brujo romped in his 2009 season opener here in the six-furlong Achievement Stakes after wintering at Fair Grounds. He came here this spring via Keeneland, where he breezed five furlongs in 1:00.80 last Sunday.

Trainer Malcolm Pierce said El Brujo has trained encouragingly leading up to the six-furlong Jacques Cartier.

"He's really come around," Pierce said. "I had a chance to work him at Keeneland one time, and it's just night and day from him training on the dirt to working over the Polytrack. I really think that he's much better on synthetics than he is on the dirt."

El Brujo never fired in last year's Queen's Plate, but he rebounded nicely while sprinting in the fall, when he won two Grade 3 stakes for 3-year-olds in Kentucky. The Achievement showed that he can run big off a layoff, and Pierce said he anticipates another strong showing Sunday.

The Achievement "might have been his best race of the year, although he beat better horses at Turfway and Keeneland in the fall," Pierce said. "We followed exactly the same program this year as we did coming into his 3-year-old year. Hopefully, he'll come up with the same type of effort that he produced first time out last spring. He looks as good as he did at this time last year."

Hollywood Hit shattered the six-furlong track record on Polytrack when he romped in his last outing here Sept. 30 in the King Corrie Stakes. However, he subsequently tested positive for the Class 3 drug acepromazine and was disqualified from purse money and banned from racing in Ontario for 90 days.

Danny O'Callaghan recently inherited the training duties from the suspended Terry Jordan on Hollywood Hit, who has been working in his usual brisk manner.

"He's been training well," O'Callaghan said. "He looks good. Apparently, he wintered well."

Field Commission captured two stakes last year, the Grade 2 Nearctic on turf and the Grade 3 Vigil on Polytrack. He finished a close third in last year's Jacques Cartier following a winter break and is making his first start of the year Sunday.