05/22/2012 2:07PM

On Fire Baby heading to Belmont for Acorn Stakes

Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Gary Hartlage will ship On Fire Baby to Belmont for the Acorn.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – On Fire Baby has trained so well since her fifth-place finish in the May 4 Kentucky Oaks that trainer Gary “Red Dog” Hartlage is trying her in another Grade 1 race, the Acorn Stakes on Monday at Belmont Park.

On Fire Baby is scheduled to leave Friday on a charter plane with other Churchill Downs-based horses bound for the big Memorial Day weekend in New York. The $300,000 Acorn, run at a one-turn mile, is set for the Metropolitan Mile undercard on Monday.

“She’s doing so good that we just thought we’d give this a try,” Hartlage said Tuesday. “She’s never been beat around one turn, and I thought her race in the Oaks was good. We’re just staying on the path we think she needs to be on.”

On Fire Baby, bred and owned by Anita Cauley, was the 4-1 second choice in the Oaks when getting a good inside stalking trip behind the eventual one-two finishers, Believe You Can and Broadway’s Alibi, before finishing 6 3/4 lengths in arrears. A bullet five-furlong workout Saturday morning in 59.60 seconds at Churchill helped convince Hartlage that he needed to send the gray daughter of Smoke Glacken on another search for her first Grade 1.

“She worked super,” he said. “She galloped out six furlongs in something like [1:12.40], and I just really liked what we saw. We’ll go on up to New York and see what happens.”

On Fire Baby has four wins, including three graded stakes, from seven career starts. She won her only two tries around one turn – her career debut last summer in an Ellis Park maiden sprint and the Grade 2 Pocahontas last fall at Churchill. Regular rider Joe Johnson retains the mount.

– additional reporting by Byron King

Rob Beaudoin More than 1 year ago
This horse was an easy toss in KY and will be in NY. Horse has never beat anybody and will be up the track in the Acorn.
T Cs More than 1 year ago
Nothing against On Fire Baby or Believe you Can,,, but In Lingerie is the best of the 3 year old fillies and its not even close
Scott K More than 1 year ago
In Lingerie is not even the best of the Pletcher 3 yo fillies - that would be Broadway's Alibi!
Flint King More than 1 year ago
She will win this race for fun if she has a clean trip
Dan Cronin More than 1 year ago
I know he is family but please get Joe off the horse, he is costing the owners bigtime money. He can work her in morning but just simply is outclassed in the big leagues. His ride in the Oaks just screamed d level rider . Put Johny V on and this filly walks to victory.
Scott K More than 1 year ago
By your logic, putting Johnny V. on Union Rags means that he will win the Belmont - correct?
Joe More than 1 year ago
By putting Johnny on any horse you increase their chances of winning. He's 1 of the top 2 jockeys in the country and he knows Belmont.
Gil More than 1 year ago
Johnny V. Is overrated. He hardly wins any races outside the Pletcher barn. Put Castellano on her. Wins lots of races for all trainers and the races he wins with Pletcher are the scraps Johnny doesn't ride to ride something better.