Jan. 4, 2012
Wednesday, January 04, 2012
On Fire Baby Could Face Males in Smarty Jones
Saying she could run with anyone her age, trainer Gary Hartlage has races against males on the agenda for stakes-winning filly On Fire Baby including the $100,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 16 at Oaklawn Park.
Owned by Anita Cauley, On Fire Baby went 3-for-4 as a 2-year-old with wins in the Pocahontas Stakes (G2) and the Golden Rod Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs. She breezed seven furlongs Wednesday morning at Oaklawn in 1:29 2/5 under regular jockey Joe Johnson.
Her workouts in Hot Springs have opened up the possibilities for “Red Dog” Hartlage when it comes to choosing where the daughter of Smoke Glacken will make her 3-year-old debut.
“She’s just a different kind of horse and it’s fun to watch,” said Hartlage Wednesday morning. “She looks great and did everything exactly the way we asked her to. We have about four things under consideration, but I know she could run with anybody, so the Smarty Jones is definitely something we will look at.”
The one-mile Smarty Jones is the feature event on the special Martin Luther King Jr. holiday card. It was won last year on a foggy day by Eclipse Award candidate Caleb’s Posse. Weather is an important consideration for Hartlage weighing the Smarty Jones along with the $50,000 Dixie Belle Stakes for fillies at six furlongs Jan. 14 or possibly races at Fair Grounds in New Orleans.
“I’m not crazy about running short,” said Hartlage. On Fire Baby won her debut at Ellis Park going 5 ½ furlongs, but her three starts since have all been a mile or more. “I know she’s ready to run. Joe got off her this morning and he’s ready to take on anybody, but we both said ‘yeah, we still have a ways to go.’”
Success at Oaklawn Park runs in the family for On Fire Baby. She is out of the mare Ornate, who ran twice in stakes here in 2002 and has produced two Oaklawn stakes winners in French Kiss, who took the 2009 Pippin Stakes and High Heels, winner of the 2007 Fantasy Stakes (G2) prior to finishing third in the Kentucky Oaks (G1).
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