ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 3, 2008)—Lava Man, the only horse to sweep the Gr. I Santa Anita Handicap, the Gr. I Hollywood Gold Cup and the Gr. I Pacific Classic in the same year—2006—will lead the parade to the post for the $250,000 California Cup Classic at Oak Tree on Sunday. His regular exercise rider, Tony Romero, will accompany the 7-year-old California-bred gelding, who was retired from racing this past July.
A son of Slew City Slew, Lava Man joined the immortal gelding Native Diver as the only other three-time winner of the Hollywood Gold Cup in 2007, his third consecutive triumph in the prestigious 1 ¼ miles affair.
The greatest claim in Thoroughbred history, Lava Man was haltered for $50,000 in August of 2004 at Del Mar for the STD Racing Stable of Steve, Dave and Tracy Kenly and Jason Wood. Trained by Doug O’Neill, Lava Man made over $5 million for his new connections and retired with 17 wins and earnings of $5,268,706.
Lava Man is currently residing at Magali Farms in Santa Ynez, Ca. “He’s doing great,” said O’Neill at yesterday’s Cal Cup Draw Breakfast at Oak Tree. “He’s just kicking back and enjoying time away from the barn.”
Lava Man raced in two California Cup races, finishing second in the 2004 Classic and sixth in the 2007 Classic.
First post time for California Cup XXIX this Sunday is 12 noon.