02/01/2012 4:27PM

Oaklawn Park: No set plans for On Fire Baby

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Barbara D. Livingston
Next-race plans have yet to be decided for On Fire Baby.

Trainer Gary Hartlage said Wednesday that no next-race plans have been set for On Fire Baby, the multiple Grade 2 winner who finished third against males in the $100,000 Smarty Jones here Jan. 16.

“Depending on the weather, she’s going to work sometime this weekend, then we’ll see what’s going on from there,” Hartlage said. “We haven’t made any decisions.”

Hartlage said On Fire Baby would probably be nominated to the $75,000 Martha Washington, a one-mile race for 3-year-old fillies here Feb. 11.

The Martha Washington remains the target for Now I Know, winner of the Grade 3, $500,000 Delta Downs Princess in December who improved her record to 6 for 6 last month in the $50,000 Dixie Belle at Oaklawn. She breezed five furlongs in a bullet 1:01 last Saturday.

“She came back fine and is just waiting to have one more light breeze and run on the 11th,” trainer Don Von Hemel said.

Plans for Rocket Twentyone, the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Lassie winner who was third in the Dixie Belle, are undecided, trainer Tom Howard said. “We’re still teeter-tottering with what our next step’s going to be with her,” he said.

Wallace into Arkansas Hall of Fame

Terry Wallace, announcer at Oaklawn for 37 years before retiring in June, will be inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame on Friday night. Those in the Hall with ties to racing include John Ed Anthony, Calvin Borel, Charles Cella, Pat Day, and Cal Partee Sr.

“This is the highest honor they give to anybody in the sports world in Arkansas,” Wallace said. “It’s a big deal, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.”

Wallace, 67, has been heralded as the “most recognizable voice in Arkansas” and during his tenure at Oaklawn he called 20,191 consecutive races. He now serves as the track’s ambassador, among his duties presenting his insights on the races each Friday and Saturday.

Wallace was a school teacher in his native Ohio before he began calling races. He has been the announcer at a number of tracks, and once at Florida Downs, now Tampa Bay Downs, he recalled he had to call a race while sharing his booth with a wayward bird. Another memorable experience for him, he said, was Zenyatta coming to town for the 2010 Apple Blossom.

Wallace on Friday night will be surrounded by his three children, Ernie, 41, in from Ohio; Jake, 29, in from Oklahoma; and Sarah, 28, who lives in Pennsylvania.

◗ Isthmus, runner-up in the $138,000 Claiming Crown Jewel at Fair Grounds on Dec. 3, heads a $35,000 optional claimer at a mile Friday. The horse is invading from New Orleans after a race for him did not fill there, trainer Mike Maker said. Terry Thompson has the mount on Isthmus, who will break from post 8.

“He’s a front-runner,” Maker said.