Breeders' Cup officials have confirmed that Lava Man, the 5-year-old gelding who is the top contender for the $5-million Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I) has been nominated to the Breeders' Cup program as a horse of racing age.
Pam Blatz-Murff, senior vice president of Breeders' Cup Operations, confirmed receipt of the $150,000 payment from Lava Man's owners late Tuesday evening. This payment places Lava Man, who was not nominated to the Breeders' Cup Program as a foal, into the Breeders' Cup Program for his entire racing career.
Lava Man races for STD Racing Stable (comprised of Steve, Tracy, and David Kenly) and Jason Wood.
Should Lava Man be entered in the Classic, which will be run at the Breeders' Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs Nov. 4, the owners will pay the standard $125,000 fees to start in the race. Had Lava Man not been nominated to the Breeders' Cup under the horses of racing age program, his supplemental fee to start in the Classic would have been $450,000.
A dark bay California-bred son of Slew City Slew
--Li'l Ms. Leonard, by Nostalgia's Star, Lava Man is slated to make his final Breeders' Cup prep in the $500,000 Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita Park's Oak Tree meeting Saturday. Lava Man is now eligible to run for the full $500,000 purse of the Goodwood Breeders' Cup, which includes $100,000 in Breeders' Cup funds.
"We're very glad to be in this position to nominate Lava Man to the Breeders' Cup before the Goodwood," said Jason Wood. "It makes a lot of sense for us now with the change in the rules than to supplement to the Classic for just one shot. Now we can also win the money in the Breeders' Cup Program races for the rest of his career."
Lava Man was bred by Lonnie Arterburn and Eve and Kim Kuhlman.
Trained by Doug O'Neill, Lava Man is undefeated in six starts this year on the West Coast and has earned $2.470,000. His season includes an unprecedented sweep of the Santa Anita Handicap, the Hollywood Gold Cup, and the Pacific Classic (all gr. I), and two stakes wins on the turf – the Khaled Stakes and the Charles Whittingham Handicap (gr. IT).
Lava Man is the third horse to be nominated to the Breeders' Cup through the horses of racing age program. In April, Ballygallon Stud's 4-year-old Aragorn, ranked No. 1 in the NetJets Mile Division of the Breeders' Cup World Championships Poll, became the first horse of racing age to be nominated to the program. Jay Em Ess Stable's 3-year-old Declan's Moon was nominated to the program Aug. 17.
Breeders' Cup Ltd. announced revised rules to its nomination program April 21 of this year following approval by its board. Under the revised system, after Dec.15 of the foal's first year, owners of a non-nominated horse, sired by a Breeders' Cup, European Breeders' Fund (EBF) or Common Fund stallion nominated in the year of conception, may now pay a one-time, $150,000 late nomination fee to place that horse into the Breeders' Cup program for its entire racing career. Owners of a Thoroughbred sired by a non-nominated Breeders' Cup, EBF or Common Fund stallion in the year of conception may also secure nomination into the Breeders' Cup program with a one-time, $250,000 late nomination payment to Breeders' Cup Ltd.
In both late nomination scenarios, owners of these horses would pay standard pre-entry and entry fees to run in Breeders' Cup World Championships races, and would be eligible for full purse and award monies in the Breeders' Cup Stakes Program.