Trainer Gary Hartlage said today that On Fire Baby will contest the Kentucky Oaks. She is currently ranked number 14 on the Kentucky Derby graded earnings list.
Hartlage said owner Anita Cauley wants a “fresh horse” for the Kentucky Oaks, and so On Fire Baby will not contest either the Grade II Fantasy Stakes on April 11 or the Grade I Arkansas Derby on April 14. Hartlage had previously said he might run On Fire Baby in either race after the Smoke Glacken filly won the Grade III Honeybee Stakes on March 10.
Hartlage denies that there is any problem.
“This was completely Anita’s decision,” said Hartlage. “She wants a fresh horse for the Kentucky Oaks, and that’s what she’s going to get. I know I can get her ready. I already know she can get the distance. She’s fine. Everything is OK. We have just decided to train up to the Oaks.”
On Fire Baby has been high on many lists since she won both the Grade II Pocahantas and Grade II Golden Rod Stakes at Churchill Downs last Fall. In addition to her win in the Honeybee, she also finished third to boys in the Jan. 16 Smarty Jones Stakes.
--Edited Oaklawn release with additional content by Dick Downey