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On Fire Baby, Motor City Look to Next Steps

| Churchill Downs Communications | 10/31/2011 #
  • Pocahontas winner On Fire Baby, inside under Joe Johnson, now aimed to GII Golden Rod. (Reed Palmer, CD)

  • Trainer Gary Hartlage

  • The GII Kentucky Jockey Club is the next planned stop for Iroquois winner Motor City. (Reed Palmer, CD)

ON FIRE BABY EYES NEXT STEP IN GOLDEN ROD – “That was one for the good guys,” Hall of Fame trainer D Wayne Lukas said to Gary Hartlage as Lukas passed the viewing stand just past the six-furlong pole.

It was one of many congratulations Hartlage received Monday after Anita Cauley’s On Fire Baby’s three-quarter length victory in the Grade II Pocahontas on Sunday’s opening-day card of the 21-day Fall Meet.

“Right place at the right time,” Hartlage said. “I’d like to enter her today for the Breeders’ Cup like they did in the old days when they ran the Derby Trial on the Tuesday before the (Kentucky) Derby.”

Instead of the Breeders’ Cup, the next stop for On Fire Baby likely will be the $150,000-added Golden Rod (GII) to be run Nov. 26.

On Fire Baby is a half-sister to High Heels, who was owned by Cauley and trained by Hartlage. High Heels ran third in the 2006 Golden Rod.  High Heels’ 3-year-old season included a win in Oaklawn Park’s  Fantasy (GII) at Oaklawn Park and ran third to eventual Belmont Stakes (GI) winner Rags to Riches in the 2007 Kentucky Oaks (GI).

The Golden Rod is not in the cards for Helen Groves’ And Why Not, who rallied from far back to get second in Sunday’s race.

“She’s a May 20 foal and she has had four races as a 2-year-old, so she is going to be turned out,” trainer Michael Matz said. “Hopefully, we can come back with her in the spring.”

MOTOR CITY DOING WELL MORNING AFTER IROQUOIS VICTORY – Lantern Hill Farm LLC’s homebred Motor City, last-to-first winner of Sunday’s Grade III Iroquois, returned to the track early Monday morning for a jog.

“He’s good this morning and the next step most likely is the Kentucky Jockey Club (GII),” trainer Ian Wilkes said referring to the race on Nov. 26.

What made Sunday’s victory all the more sweet for Wilkes was the fact that Motor City’s sire is Street Sense, winner of the 2007 Kentucky Derby (GI).

“That was Street Sense’s first graded stakes winner,” said Wilkes, who rode the Street Sense express along with trainer Carl Nafzger, with whom he shares Barn 26.

The victory was the second in the Iroquois for Wilkes, who won the race in 2008 with Capt. Candyman Can.

“It is hard to compare horses, but this horse can rate and Capt. Candyman Can couldn’t,” Wilkes said. “This bodes well for two turns.”

Trainer Al Stall Jr., who owns Iroquois runner-up Seven Lively Sins in partnership with Stewart Madison and Justin Querbes III, said the colt would head to Louisiana for the $1 million Delta Jackpot (GIII) to be run Nov. 19 at Delta Downs.

“Hopefully, this will get him in with the graded stakes earnings (of $21,967 from the Iroquois),” Stall said. “That’s a hard race to get in to as there are only nine spots available.”