Smoke Glacken's 4-year-old daughter On Fire Baby kicked off her 2013 campaign with a thrilling win in the $500,000 Apple Blossom H. Friday at Oaklawn Park.
On Fire Baby is the third career Grade 1 stakes winner for Smoke Glacken, who offers great value with his 2013 stud fee of $10,000 LFS&N.
The field of seven in 1 1/16-mile Apple Blossom included graded stakes winners Tiz Miz Sue, Grace Hall and Summer Applause. On Fire Baby was quickest of them all out of the gate, hustled early by her regular rider Joe Johnson to establish a one length lead over Summer Applause through fractions of :24.03 and :48.10.
Around the final turn, Grace Hall put in her bid, but On Fire Baby turned her back to open up by two lengths straightening for home. Tiz Miz Sue then challenged in the final furlong, but once again On Fire Baby was up to the task, hold sway by a half-length at the wire. The final time was 1:44.13.
"This is the best she's ever
looked in her life," trainer Gary Hartlage beamed. "She's
picked up 150 pounds since last year. She's so relaxed. She's
really matured. She's the best horse I've ever had and I've been
training 40 years. She's something special. Joe rode one hell of a
race. It doesn't get much better than that. He's the most underrated
rider there is."
Owned by her breeder Anita Cauley and trained by Gary Hartlage, On Fire Baby is 5-0-1 in nine starts, with earnings of $654,629. The gray/roan owns stakes wins in the Golden Rod S. (G2) and Pocahontas S. (G2), both at Churchill Downs in 2011, and Oaklawn Park's Honeybee S. (G3) in 2012.
On Fire Baby is out of the stakes-winning Gilded Time mare Ornate, making her a half-sister to 2007 Fantasy S. (G2) winner High Heels, who ran third in that year's Kentucky Oaks, as well as Grade 3-placed stakes filly French Kiss, who was fourth in the 2009 Apple Blossom.