Lava Man Repeats as California Horse of the Year

Lava Man was named the 2006 California-bred Horse of the Year in voting by the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association, becoming a back-to-back winner of the honor, which was announced at the CTBA’s annual awards dinner Feb. 5.

The 6-year-old gelded son of Slew City Slew is out of the Nostalgia’s Star mare Li’l Ms. Leonard and was bred by Lonnie Arterburn, Eve Kuhlmann & Kim Kuhlmann. He is owned by STD Racing and Jason Wood and conditioned by Doug O'Neill, who took home top trainer honors in the state.

Lava Man earlier was named champion older male for a seven-race win streak in 2006 that included the first-ever sweep of the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I), Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) and Pacific Classic (gr. I). He also showed the versatility to compete on turf at the top level by capturing the Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap (gr. IT), becoming the first horse in 21 years to win grade I races on dirt and turf in the same year. He also earned Cal-bred honors as top turf horse.

Claimed for $50,000 by his current owners in 2004, Lava Man has career earnings of more than $4 million, ranking third on the all-time Cal-bred list behind Tiznow and Best Pal. He has 15 wins in 36 starts.

Lava Man rebounded from an out-of-the-money finish in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I) to win last month’s $500,000 Sunshine Millions Turf.

Other finalists for horse of the year were Eclipse Award-winning sprinter Thor’s Echo, who captured the TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I), and Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) victor Brother Derek.

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