04/07/2011 12:41PM

Woodbine: Ward looks to continue his roll in Star Shoot Stakes

Barbara D. Livingston
Nina Fever will return to Polytrack in Saturday’s Star Shoot Stakes.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Trainer Wesley Ward came to Woodbine last weekend loaded for bear, winning with half of his 10 starters. He will try to keep the ball rolling Saturday when he sends out the swift Nina Fever in the $150,000 Star Shoot Stakes, a six-furlong sprint for 3-year-old fillies.

Nina Fever has won six of 11 starts, over three different surfaces. One of her better efforts was a narrow loss here Nov. 14 in the seven-furlong Glorious Song Stakes, in which she was pressed through rapid fractions before giving way grudgingly to a closing Anne’s Beauty.

Nina Fever competed around two turns twice over the winter, finishing seventh in the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet and a distant third in the Sweetest Chant Stakes at Gulfstream. Ward said the daughter of Grade 1-winner Borrego has distance limitations.

“With her pedigree, I thought she could route, but she just can’t,” Ward explained.

Nina Fever rebounded March 9 at Gulfstream, when she captured a five-furlong optional claimer on the grass after dueling through sizzling fractions.

“She’s coming off a big win and she’s been working great,” Ward said. “I think she’s going to be tough.”

Nina Fever will be ridden by Patrick Husbands, who has been serving a suspension but has an exemption for stakes races.

Five others were entered in the Star Shoot, including Miss Inclined and Third Chance.

Miss Inclined graduated second time out last summer on the grass at Arlington. She subsequently finished fifth in both the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Lassie and the Jessamine Stakes.

Following a five-month break on March 7, she won her first start for trainer Malcolm Pierce in a 5 1/2-furlong optional claimer that was taken off the grass at Fair Grounds.

“She was probably going to be second, but the filly who was on the lead broke down at the sixteenth pole,” Pierce said. “I was glad that it came off the turf, because the course wasn’t in great shape. We wanted to try her on the dirt.”

Even though she missed the board in both of her Polytrack starts, Pierce said he has no reservations about trying her on that surface again.

“She worked fine on the Poly here last weekend,” Pierce said, referring to Miss Inclined’s half-mile drill in 48.20 seconds on April 2.

Third Chance is turning back off a fading fourth-place finish in the Suncoast Stakes at Tampa.