04/15/2011 12:21PM

Woodbine: Sports Select to pinch-hit in Cartier

Michael Burns
Hollywood Hit, here with owner Peter Redekop, has had his 2011 bow delayed.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Hollywood Hit, Canada’s champion male sprinter of 2010, had been expected to make his seasonal bow here in Sunday’s $150,000 Jacques Cartier Stakes. But when trainer Terry Jordan decided that Hollywood Hit wasn’t quite ready for a return to prime time, he went to the bench and entered Sports Select for the Jacques Cartier, a six-furlong race for 4-year-olds and upward.

“He’ll run as good as he’s capable of,” said Jordan, who conditions Sports Select for owner James Redekop. “He runs well fresh, and he isn’t going to get any better than he is right now.”

Whether that will be good enough is a question that will be answered by Sports Select in the Jacques Cartier, which also has attracted the crack sprinters Fatal Bullet, Essence Hit Man and Signature Red.

Bred in Kentucky, the 4-year-old gelding Sports Select has won four of just six career starts and will be making his first appearance since finishing a faltering fifth in the six-furlong Gallant Bob at Parx Racing near Philadelphia last Oct. 9.

“He got stuck four wide there, and couldn’t do anything,” said Jordan. “He doesn’t have any conditions, so he’ll have to be able to fit here or go somewhere else. Or, I’ll have to run him for a high tag.”

Regular rider Jim McAleney, who piloted Sports Select to his three local victories including his career debut and 2010 bow, has the call for the Jacques Cartier.

Hollywood Hit, winner of the Jacques Cartier and the seven-furlong Vigil in his first two starts here last spring, wintered at Webb Carroll’s training center along with the bulk of the Jordan stock and assistant trainer Anita Bolton.

“The horse has been training fine,” said Jordan, who conditions the 5-year-old Oklahoma-bred gelding for owner Peter Redekop. “He’s 100 percent right now; he’s just not ready to run. He needed some time off after that last race at Keeneland.”

Hollywood Hit wound up his last campaign with a close second-place finish in Keeneland’s Grade 3, six-furlong Phoenix.

Signature Red returning in Cartier

Signature Red, solid while sprinting on both turf and Polytrack here last year, will be making his seasonal bow for trainer Sid Attard in the Jacques Cartier. A Kentucky-bred 5-year-old, Signature Red races for the Norseman Racing Stable of Howard Walton and spent the off season at Frank Stronach’s nearby Adena Springs.

“He came back in the first week of February,” said Attard. “I wish I had time to work him one more time, but he’s been going since the first week in January and there’s going to be a lot of speed in front of him.”

Emma-Jayne Wilson will ride Signature Red for the first time in the Jacques Cartier.

Signature Red was one of three top older sprinters in Attard’s barn last year, along with the full brothers Utterly Cool and Smokey Fire. Utterly Cool, however, was euthanized last fall after undergoing ankle surgery.

“They put in a screw, and it got infected,” said Attard. “They had to put him down. He was a nice horse. He had a lot of speed. He was just too fast for his legs.”

Utterly Cool won five of nine races, including two turf stakes, and earned $400,370.

Smokey Fire, also out of owner Mel Lawson’s mare Destroy, defeated both Hollywood Hit and Fatal Bullet when making his seasonal bow here in last summer’s 6 1/2-furlong Bold Venture. The gelding also won the Grade 3 Play the King over seven furlongs of turf and the restricted Mt. Sassafras at seven furlongs on the main track, but was put away following a disappointing effort in the allowance prep for the Kennedy Road.

“He’s started back training in Kentucky,” said Attard. “He just needed time off.”

Smokey Fire was a Sovereign Award finalist and Destroy was voted outstanding broodmare.

Destroy also was represented by Ghost Fleet, who won two stakes as a 2-year-old and finished second last year in the Queenston. Attard reports that Ghost Fleet was gelded last summer but then bowed a tendon and now is a riding horse.