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Sep 05, 2014

On Fire Baby meets Molly Morgan in Churchill's Locust Grove


Louisville, KY ( - On Fire Baby gets back into action Saturday in Churchill Downs' $100,000 Locust Grove Stakes going 1 1/16 miles on the main track.

The 5-year-old gray mare will renew her rivalry with Molly Morgan. Each has defeated the other in two meetings this year.

Trained by Gary Hartlage, On Fire Baby resumes racing after an 11 week freshening. The 5-year-old is the 2-1 morning line favorite and will start from post 3 in the seven-horse field with Joe Johnson riding, the only jockey the mare has ever carried.

On Fire Baby, owned by Anita Cauley, last competed in Churchill's Fleur de Lis Stakes when she was fifth as the 13-10 favorite behind Molly Morgan.

"We got everything cleared up and she's been training really well lately. She'll run her race or it'll be her last. I look for her to run well," Hartlage said.

In her first three starts of 2014, On Fire Baby was fourth in the Azeri and second in the Apple Blossom, both at Oaklawn Park, and won the La Troienne at Churchill on Kentucky Oaks Day.

On Fire Baby has earned $1,089,018 with six wins in 16 career starts.

Molly Morgan, 5-2 in the program, will break from the outside post in the Locust Grove with her regular rider Corey Lanerie aboard. The 5-year-old mare, owned by Bill Cubbedge and trained by Dale Romans, was sixth in last year's Locust Grove.

Four weeks ago, Molly Morgan won the Gardenia Stakes at Ellis Park as the 4-5 favorite for her second win of the year to go along with her Fleur de Lis victory.

"She just needed to grow up," Romans said. "I was lucky that her owner was patient enough with me to let her come around. It's paid off this year."

She was second to On Fire Baby in the La Troienne before a fifth in the Delaware Handicap.

"I didn't like her trip at Delaware a whole lot," Romans said. "But if you look at her numbers, she ran as good up there as she has anywhere. She may have just gotten outrun up there. I think she can run with some of those horses if she would have had a perfect trip, but you can't have a bump in the road and expect to beat them."

With six wins in 23 lifetime starts, Molly Morgan has banked $450,739.

Here is the field for the Locust Grove in post position order: Baby Fresh, Ricardo Santana Jr., 30-1; Tapit's World, Chris Landeros, 6-1; On Fire Baby, Joe Johnson, 2-1: Frivolous, Brian Hernandez Jr., 10-1; Ria Antonia, Joel Rosario, 8-1; Don't Tell Sophia, Joe Rocco Jr., 5-2 and Molly Morgan, Corey Lanerie, 5-2.

Post time for the Locust Grove will be approximately 4:24 p.m. ET.

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