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Joe Johnson celebrates aboard On Fire Baby after winning the Honeybee Stakes.
There were two graded stakes run at Oaklawn Park on Saturday afternoon. Conditions were excellent atythe historic Hot Springs oval, with 20,983 on hand under sunny skies and temperatures in the mid 60's. The first stakes race was the $125,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) for three-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles, a prep for the Fantasy Stakes and ultimately the Kentucky Oaks. On Fire Baby was sent off as the 2-5 favorite in the field of 8, third in the Smarty Jones last out against males after winning the Goldenrod (G2) at Churchill Downs. In to challenge her included 3-1 second choice Amie's Dini, off her win in the Martha Washington, and 11-1 third choice Rocket Twentyone, third in oth the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) and the Dixie Belle.
On Fire Baby catches Amie's Dini in the stretch run
Jockey Jon Court sent Amie's Dini to the early lead and she set fractions of 23.68, 47.38, and 1:11.65 while pressed by Rocket Twentyone and On Fire Baby. Amie's Dini continued to lead to the 1/8 pole, but On Fire Baby easily passed her in the final furlong to win going away by 2 lengths in 1:43.64 over the fast track. It was a long 6 1/2 lengths back to 17-1 Colonial Empress third.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 8 On Fire Baby Johnson 2.80 2.40 2.10 2 Amie's Dini Court 2.80 2.80 4 Colonial Empress Thompson 4.20 Winning Time: 1:43.64 $2 Exacta 8-2 5.60 $1 Trifecta 8-2-4 12.60 $1 Superfecta 8-2-4-7 69.90Results Chart from DRF.
Left: The trophy presentation for the Honeybee Stakes. Winning trainer Gart Hartlage said, "We'll see how she comes out of this race before we decide on her next race, but it will be (at Oaklawn). We have options now. We have enough earnings to get into the Kentucky Derby at this point and she's undefeated at Churchill. I've been training horses around here for 25 years and the last horses I've seen that trained like her were Curlin and Rachel (Alexandra). I know that's saying something, but she's just so flashy. So professional."
Right: On Fire Baby in the post parade. Jockey Joe Johnson said, "She hit the side of the gate leaving there, but recovered nicely. 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."
Left: Second place finisher Amie's Dini in the post parade. The 3-1 second choice set the pace under jockey Jon Court but could not hold off the winner. The Ron Moquett trainee improved her record to 3 wins, 2 seconds, and 1 third in 6 starts, earning $123,896 for owners Mike Walker and Lou Sutterfield.
Right: Third place finisher Colonial Empress in the post parade. The 17-1 shot raced 4th 3 lengths off the pace early under jockey Terry Thompson, but could not gain, finishing 3rd beaten 11 1/2 lengths. The D. Wayne Lukas trainee improved her record to 0 wins, 0 seconds, and 1 third in 2 starts, earning $16,250 for owner Bluegrass Hall LLC.
Down the stretch in the Razorback Handicap
Alternation and Tapizar battled for the lead right out of the gate, clicking off fractions of 23.62, 47.13, and 1:11.88 while as many as 3 1/2 lengths in front of 20-1 It Happened Again stalking them third. Entering the stretch, Alternation opened up a 1 1/2 length lead, and held that advantage to the line, completing the distance in 1:43.50. It was a long 6 3/4 lengths back from Tapizar to 15-1 Color Me Blue third.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 2 Alternation Quinonez 4.60 2.80 2.40 6 Tapizar Nakatani 2.80 2.60 3 Color Me Blue Ocampo 3.80 Winning Time: 1:43.50 $2 Exacta 2-6 9.40 $1 Trifecta 2-6-3 25.40
Left: Alternation in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Donnie Von Hemel said, "I'm just glad we were able to seize the opportunity and it's great to know he's developed this versatility. He's shown that he's not just a deep closer. People will have to respect him because he can take advantage of a race when it presents itself."
Right: Alternation heads over from the barns before the race. Jockey Luis Quinonez said, "He broke sharp and he put me there and kept on going. He ran his eyeballs out today."
Left: Second place finisher Tapizar heads over from the barns before the race. The 11-10 favorite contested the pace under jockey Corey Nakatani but could not keep up with the winner. The Steve Asmussen trainee improved his record to 4 wins, 0 seconds, and 1 third in 11 starts, earning $300,032 for owner-breeder Winchell Thoroughbreds.
Right: Third place finisher Color Me Blue in the post parade. The 15-1 fourth choice raced 4th early under jockey Israel Ocampo, but could not gain late, checking in third beaten 7 1/4 lengths. The Brian Williamson trainee improved his record to 7 wins, 5 seconds, and 3 thirds in 19 starts, earning $266,542 for owner Russell Reineman Stable.
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