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On Fire Baby: Arkansas Derby or Fantasy?

Trainer Gary "Red Dog" Hartlage admits figuring out which big-money stakes race to try next with Anita Cauley's star filly On Fire Baby is a complicated process, but he loves how easy the three-time Graded stakes winner is making his actual training look. Her latest workout came Tuesday at Oaklawn and now her connections are pondering the $300,000 Fantasy Stakes (G2) against fillies or the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1).

"Everything is going according to plan and if you don't like how she worked (yesterday), you don't like apple pie," said Hartlage Wednesday morning after her seven-furlong breeze in 1:27 4/5. "It was just like we drew it on the board."

Under regular jockey Joe Johnson, On Fire Baby was asked to test her stamina a bit more than in her previous workouts. The goal was to be ready to go 1 1/16th miles in the April 11 Fantasy in a likely rematch of her Honeybee Stakes (G3) win over Amie's Dini, or go 1 1/8th miles against males in the Arkansas Derby with a potential berth in the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby (G1) perhaps in the offing.

"I didn't know Joe could get her to go that slow, but he did it," said Hartlage. "We wanted her to relax and finish strong, and she did just that. Now we are ready for both of them. I might not even have to breeze her again before her next race. I wouldn't have to change a thing to get there now."

On Fire Baby came out of her 2-year-old campaign with wins in both the Pocahontas (G2) and the Golden Rod (G2) at Churchill Downs before getting her first chance against males in the Smarty Jones Stakes in January, where she was a close third behind Junebugred and Reckless Jerry. She skipped the Martha Washington Stakes, won by Amie's Dini, but returned in the Honeybee to win by two lengths.

Hartlage says he has left the next-race decision up to Cauley and they don't expect to commit right away. The timing of when the Fantasy and Arkansas Derby are drawn could allow for her to be entered in both contests.


 

 

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Older Comments about On Fire Baby: Arkansas Derby or Fantasy? ...

She will do well no matter which race they decide to put her in, but I would love to see her try males again.

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