Tabbed as the fastest horse that champion jockey Jim McAleney has ever ridden, the fleet bay gelding was a comfortable winner as Canada’s champion sprinter of 2010 thanks to a trio of stakes scores in his five outings.
Despite being unplaced twice as a juvenile, the gelding blossomed for Trout in the spring of 2009, winning an allowance race at six furlongs in a rapid 1:08 1/5. Redekop, who has had plenty of success scooping up private purchases and turning a profit in recent years, was attracted to the horse and made an offer that Trout could not refuse.
The arrival of Hollywood Hit to trainer Terry Jordan’s Woodbine stable caused an immediate buzz around the backstretch.
Hollywood Hit was an instant hit as soon as he landed at Woodbine, winning four races including the King Corrie Stakes in a mind boggling, and track record setting 1:07 1/5 for six furlongs. However, the gelding was found to have tested positive for the tranquilizer acepromazine, a Class 3 drug, and had the win taken away. The gelding was also suspended from racing for 90 days, botching a planned appearance in that year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Hollywood Park.
Hollywood Hit had to go on an early vacation, as did trainer Jordan, but he came back with fighting form when he pranced onto the Woodbine Polytrack for his 2010 debut in the Jacques Cartier Stakes. As he tugged hard on the reins out of the gate, McAleney was able to keep the gelding controlled enough to win by half a length over a charging Field Commission, the 2009 champion sprinter.
The stage was set for the first major sprint of the season, the Grade III Vigil stakes on May 9 at seven-furlongs where he would meet the 2008 Horse of the Year and champion sprinter Fatal Bullet.
The latter had a poor start from the gate, however, leading Hollywood Hit to breeze along with a short lead before he took off the stretch. It was a stunning display of speed and stamina as the gelding won by three lengths in 1:20, setting a track record for the distance.
“He may have a high cruising speed but he was always very comfortable,” said McAleney. The gelding earned a career high Beyer Speed Figure of 114 one of the best numbers of any thoroughbred at any distance during the year.
A plan was mapped out for the gelding to take the road to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint so Jordan kept the horse in light training for the summer before bringing him back for the Bold Venture Stakes in mid-July.
Meeting up with a fresh Smokey Fire from Mel Lawson’s Jim Dandy Stable, Hollywood Hit relinquished the lead very late to that rival. Smokey Fire went on to win two other stakes events in 2010 and earned a nomination for champion sprinter.
Hollywood Hit’s final Breeders’ Cup prep outing was the Grade III Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland racecourse in Lexington, Kentucky. As the 2 to 1 favourite, Hollywood Hit grabbed the lead in mid stretch but was caught by longshot Wise Dan.
Jordan alerted the media that Hollywood Hit had “a little problem” that would need six weeks of rest so the Breeders’ Cup was out. The trainer shipped Hollywood Hit and two dozen other of his runners to the Webb Carroll Training centre in South Carolina and by February, the gelding had resumed training.
McAleney, who himself had to use the winter to recover from injury (he suffered a broken collarbone, ribs and collapsed lung in a scary accident on Oct. 31) was excited to climb aboard the gelding again in the spring.
“I think he could be even better this year than he was in 2010,” said the rider. Hollywood Hit’s dam, Solid Hit, was placed in a 12-race career.
Her nine foals (all with the word “hit” in their name) include six other multiple winners. Cactus Ridge, the champion’s sire, was an undefeated twoyear-old for country singer Toby Keith. The stallion has 18 stakes horses, through April 3, including Grade I winner Hot Cha Cha.