Lava Man comes off a third-place finish in the Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap (gr. IT) on the Hollywood Park lawn six weeks ago. The 7-year-old gelding set a solid pace, then rallied in the stretch after being passed to finish just a neck behind Artiste Royal. The California-bred son of Slew City Slew is the lone grade I winner in the Eddie Read, which at 1 1/8 miles is a furlong shorter than the Whittingham.
Winner of the 2006 Pacific Classic (gr. I) on Del Mar's main track, Lava Man is seeking his first victory over the seaside track's Jimmy Durante Turf Course.
He'll be running out of the track's detention barn, where trainer Doug O'Neill's horses are required to be placed 24 hours before they race as the result of a total carbon dioxide violation earlier this year. Leandro Mora, O'Neill's assistant, said Lava Man has already been bedding down in that barn in order to get him accustomed to the new surroundings.
Tyler Baze, who took over the mount from Corey Nakatani prior to the Whittingham, will ride Lava Man. Lava Man, a 17-time winner in 45 starts with earnings of $5,268,706 for owners STD Racing Stable and Jason Wood, breaks from the rail and carries top weight of 120 pounds.
Lava Man prepped for the Read with a five-furlong work July 12 at Hollywood Park in 1:01 4/5.
Grade II winner Spring House makes his first start for owner R.D. Hubbard and trainer Julio Canani since fading to 10th after setting the pace in the $5 million Dubai Sheema Classic (UAE-I) on the World Cup program at Nad al Sheba March 29.
Spring House won the 12-furlong San Luis Obispo Handicap (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita prior to that effort. The 6-year-old Chester House gelding ran a close third to After Market in the Del Mar Handicap (gr. IIT) last August in his only try over the Del Mar lawn. Garrett Gomez retains the mount on Spring House, who starts from the far outside post under 117.
Whatsthescript was a 29-1 winner of the 1 1/8-mile American Invitational Handicap (gr. IIT) at Hollywood Park June 28 for trainer John Sadler. The Irish-bred 4-year-old surged from near the back of the pack to defeat pacesetter Storm Military by 1 1/4 lengths in the American.
The Argentina-bred Storm Military, trained by Bobby Frankel, also returns in the Read in search of his first American graded victory.
Monzante, also a deep closer, stepped up in the Whittingham at 13-1 to nose Lava Man for the runner-up spot in a game effort in his first U.S. try on grass. Mike Mitchell trains the 4-year-old son of Maria's Mon, a Kentucky-bred who began his career in Great Britain.
Also in the Eddie Read field is Ferneley, a group III winner this spring going one mile at Leopardstown in Ireland. Ben Cecil conditions the 4-year-old Irish-bred colt making his first U.S. start.
Global Hunter won a group II race on the turf at one mile in his native Argentina in March 2007 but has raced on synthetic or dirt surfaces in his three North American starts for trainer A.C. Avila. The 5-year-old, also entered in Del Mar's San Diego Handicap (gr. II) July 19, is coming off a fourth place finish in the seven-furlong Triple Bend Handicap (gr. I) at Hollywood July 5.
$400,000 Eddie Read Handicap (gr. IT, Race 8, 5:30 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Lava Man (CA), 120, Tyler Baze
2. Whatsthescript (IRE), 116, Isaias D. Enriquez
3. Ferneley (IRE), 114, Victor Espinoza
4. Monzante (KY), 114, Rafael Bejarano
5. Global Hunter (ARG), 113, Mike E. Smith
6. Storm Military (ARG), 115, David R. Flores
7. Spring House (KY), 117, Garrett K. Gomez