01/28/2011 5:01PM

Hearts On Fire to be tested at Oaklawn


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – The impressive debut winner Hearts On Fire will get a litmus test Sunday at Oaklawn Park when she takes on Fair Grounds shipper Switching Gears and the Larry Jones-trained entry of Summer Soiree and Raised With Pride in a first-level allowance.

The race for 3-year-old fillies will be run over 1 1/16 miles and could produce starters for one of two local stakes, the $75,000 Martha Washington on Feb. 12 or the Grade 3, $125,000 Honeybee on March 12.

Hearts On Fire made her career debut at Remington Park on Dec. 1, and ran off to a 7 1/2-length win in a maiden special weight sprint. She covered the six furlongs in a sharp 1:10.20 and for the effort earned a Beyer Figure of 74.

“She won very easily the first time out, which was a little surprising because she had just kind of done what she had to in the mornings,” said Donnie Von Hemel, who trains Hearts On Fire. “She hadn’t really separated herself that much, but boy, on race day she sure did.”

Hearts On Fire gets pedigree support for the move to two turns as a daughter of Lion Heart, who was a multiple Grade 1 winner at two turns. She will break from post 6, to the outside of perhaps her main pace rival, Summer Soiree.

“She was up close last time, but we’ll have to see what she does with winners,” said Von Hemel, who has given the mount to Cliff Berry.

Switching Gears could go favored. She was third in a first-level allowance route in her last start Dec. 30 and before that was a romping maiden special weight winner at Churchill Downs. Israel Ocampo has the mount for trainer Steve Margolis.

Jones, meanwhile, will counter with the stakes-placed Summer Soiree and the consistent Raised With Pride. Both come out of the same Delaware Park race Oct. 25, with Raised With Pride finishing second in the $60,000 optional claiming route and Summer Soiree third.

“They’ve been off since that, but they’re both training well,” Jones said. “Summer Soiree definitely shows more affinity for this track than she did Delaware. Race With Pride is about the same. I don’t think she cares if she runs over marbles or what it is, she’ll go out and do her little lick. We’re hoping that we’ll have good results.”

Gabriel Saez has the mount on Summer Soiree, while Terry Thompson will ride Raised With Pride.