03/10/2012 6:22PM

Oaklawn: On Fire Baby outgames Amie's Dini to win Honeybee

Coady Photography/Oaklawn Park
On Fire Baby draws clear late under Joe Johnson to capture the Grade 3 Honeybee.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark.- On Fire Baby fought to get past a determined Amie’s Dini in the stretch and win the Grade 3, $125,000 Honeybee Stakes by two lengths Saturday at Oaklawn Park. It was the third graded win in six career starts for the filly, whose connections said her next race would come locally, in either the Grade 2, $300,000 Fantasy for 3-year-old fillies or the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby.

The Honeybee shared a card with the Grade 3, $125,000 Razorback Handicap.

On Fire Baby ($2.80) went about four wide into the first turn of the 1 1/16-mile Honeybee, and moved up to stalk Amie’s Dini, who led the field through fractions of 23.68 for the opening quarter, 47.38 for the half-mile mark and 1:11.65 for six furlongs. On Fire Baby moved to the leader midway on the final turn, and the pair entered the stretch head-and-head. On Fire Baby dug in to get past Amie’s Dini in the final furlong, then went on to cover the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.64.

“She hit the side of the gate leaving there, but recovered nicely,” said Joe Johnson, who was aboard On Fire Baby. “She wanted to run and I could have slowed her, but I let her run on. She got to gawking in the stretch, but as soon as I asked her, she responded. She has a great future.”

Gary Hartlage, who trains On Fire Baby for Anita Cauley, was equally pleased with On Fire Baby’s effort in the Honeybee.

“Our horse ran a super race,” Hartlage said. “[Amie’s Dini] is a really game filly. She probably helped us for the next race.”

Cauley said she wants to wait and give On Fire Baby time out of this race before making a decision on her next start. The Fantasy is April 11, and the Arkansas Derby April 14.

On Fire Baby, a Triple Crown nominee, won a pair of Grade 2 races last fall at Churchill Downs, the Golden Rod and Pocahontas. The Honeybee was her second start of the year, following a third-place finish against male rivals in the $100,000 Smarty Jones at Oaklawn in January. The Honeybee was also her first start on Lasix. She is a daughter of Smoke Glacken.

Amie’s Dini was second in the Honeybee, finishing 9 1/2 lengths in front of third-place finisher Colonial Empress. The remaining order of finish was Silver Hustler in fourth, followed by Our Domain, Inca Miss, Forgotten People and Rocket Twentyone.

Attendance ontrack Saturday was 20,983.