Racing News

On Fire Baby, Summer Applause Breeze in Prep for Kentucky Oaks

| Churchill Downs | 04/20/2012 #
  • Oaks contender On Fire Baby breezed under Joe Johnson on Friday. Credit: Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography

  • Summer Applause breezed under Miguel Mena on Friday morning at Churchill Downs. Credit: Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography

Anita Cauley’s homebred On Fire Baby, a leading contender for the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) , breezed seven furlongs on a fast track Friday morning at Churchill Downs in 1:26.80 for trainer Gary Hartlage.

Working under regular rider Joe Johnson at 6:20 a.m. (ET), On Fire Baby recorded fractions of :13, :25, :37.40, :49.80, 1:01.80 and 1:14.40 and galloped out a mile in 1:40.20 and 1 1/8 miles in 1:54.80. It was the faster of two seven-furlong works Friday.

“She went really well,” Hartlage said. “I like to send my horses seven-eighths (of a mile) so they don’t go too fast. Also, we’re getting her ready to run 1 1/8 miles.”

On Fire Baby, a half-sister to High Heels, third-place finisher in the 2007 Kentucky Oaks, debuted a winner at Ellis Park last August and returned from that effort to finish fifth in the Darley Alcibiades (GI) over Keeneland’s Polytrack. The gray daughter of Smoke Glacken rebounded from her lone off-the-board finish to become just the seventh filly to complete the Pocahontas (GII) – Golden Rod (GII) double at Churchill Downs in the fall.

She made her 3-year-old debut against males in the Smarty Jones at Oaklawn Park, where she finished third behind Junebugred and Reckless Jerry. In her second and most recent start this year, On Fire Baby won the Honeybee (GIII) at Oaklawn by two lengths as the 2-5 favorite.

On Fire Baby stayed at Oaklawn with Hartlage’s other horses through the meet and then vanned to Churchill Downs on April 16. Friday marked her first published workout since she breezed seven furlongs in 1:27.80 at Oaklawn on March 27.

Hartlage said On Fire Baby would breeze beneath the Twin Spires again next weekend in what will be her final major training move in preparation for the Oaks.

SUMMER APPLAUSE ZIPS FIVE FURLONGS; GOMEZ GETS THE MOUNT IN OAKS Gillian Campbell, R Group Management Ltd. and Greenwood Lodge Farm’s Summer Applause, narrowly defeated by Believe You Can in the Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) on March 31, breezed a bullet five furlongs in :59.60 on Friday morning at Churchill Downs for trainer Bret Calhoun to continue her preparations for the May 4 Kentucky Oaks.

Working under jockey Miguel Mena, Summer Applause recorded fractions of :12.20, :23.60, :35.40 and :47.60 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:12.80 and seven furlongs in 1:27.20.

“She couldn’t have worked any better,” assistant trainer Dennis “Peaches” Geier said. “She was very relaxed and worked really well.”

After the move, her connections announced Summer Applause would have a new rider on Oaks Day.

A 3-year-old daughter of Harlan’s Holiday, Summer Applause had a record of 2-2-0 in four starts at the Fair Grounds meet, including a victory in the Rachel Alexandra (GIII) in February. Summer Applause was ridden by Robby Albarado in all four of those starts, but Garret Gomez will be in the saddle for the Kentucky Oaks.

Gomez fractured his left heel when he was thrown from his mount in the paddock at Santa Anita on Jan. 8 and did not return to full-time action until March 22.

“When he’s healthy he’s one of the top-two riders in the country,” Geier said.

Gomez won the 2007 Kentucky Oaks aboard Rags to Riches.

Bred in Kentucky by Greenwood Lodge Farm Inc., Summer Applause has a career record of 3-2-0 from six starts and earnings of $302,906. Her lone off-the-board finish came in her career debut at Woodbine while she was under the care of trainer Josie Carroll.

“We’re starting to get excited,” Geier said. “She has a legitimate chance to win.”

Geier said Summer Applause will have her final work prior to the Oaks next Friday.

MRS. REVERE CHAMP HEADS TO CHURCHILL DISTAFF TURF MILEGlen Hill Farm’s Marketing Mix, easy winner of the Mrs. Revere (GII) at Churchill Downs in the fall, will make her return to the Matt Winn Turf Course in the $200,000-added Churchill Distaff Turf Mile Presented by American Commercial Lines (GII).

The Churchill Distaff Turf Mile, which is to be run as part of the Kentucky Derby Day undercard on Saturday, May 5, will be the second start of the year for the Canadian-bred daughter of Medaglia d’Oro. She made her 4-year-old debut in a one mile allowance race on the turf at Keeneland on April 11 against a very competitive field that included Hungry Island, winner of the Lake Placid (GII) at Saratoga, and Queen’s Plate winner Inglorious.

“It was a little tougher than anyone wanted,” trainer Tom Proctor said. “She ran great. I thought she would run a big race because she was training great at Tampa (Bay Downs).”

Marketing Mix is currently stabled at Keeneland, but Proctor said she will join his barn at Churchill Downs in a few days.

“I’m hoping the race (at Keeneland) didn’t take too much out of her,” Proctor said. “I think she’s ready to rock and roll.”

Other horses currently pointing to the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile according to Churchill Downs officials include Annabel Lee, Aruna, City to City, Daisy Devine, Hungry Island, It’s Tea Time, Maggies Ransom and Tapitsfly.

BARN TALKMike Walker and Lou Sutterfield’s Amie’s Dini, runner-up to Mamma Kimbo in the Fantasy (GII) at Oaklawn Park on April 11, will breeze at Churchill Downs on Sunday after the renovation break during the 15-minute period set aside exclusively for training by Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks contenders, according to trainer Ron Moquett. The dark bay daughter of Bandini arrived at Churchill Downs on April 13. A winner of $183,896, Amie’s Dini was purchased at the 2010 Keeneland September Yearling Sale for $3,000. …

Reminder to horsemen, the track will open at 5:45 a.m. beginning Saturday, April 21. Also beginning Saturday, the 15-minute period after the renovation break will be reserved for training for Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks contenders.

Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 5, 2012, and its Spring Meet is scheduled for April 28-July 1. The track has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships a record eight times. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at www.churchilldowns.com.

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