The multifaceted Lava Man, a grade I winner on dirt and turf, could remain on turf after his next start in the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Turf at Santa Anita on Jan. 27.
“If we’re fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go to Dubai, we’re thinking of running him in one of their turf races this year,” trainer Doug O’Neill said.
Lava Man breezed five-eighths Sunday in 1:01 4/5 at Hollywood Park.
The $6 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) at Nad Al Sheba race track will be run March 31 at 1 ¼ miles on dirt, while turf races that day are the $5 million Dubai Sheema Classic (UAE-I) at about 1 ½ miles and the $5 million Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I) at about 1 1/8 miles.
Lava Man won seven straight races while amassing earnings of nearly $2.8 million last year, including a victory in the Charles Whittingham Handicap (gr. IT) on grass. The 6-year-old Slew City Slew gelding also won the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I), Hollywood Gold (gr. I), Pacific Classic (gr. I) and Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap in 2006 for owners STD Racing Stable and Jason Wood. He finished seventh to Invasor in the Breeders’ Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I).
“The fact that he does have sensitive feet could be why he runs as well on turf as he does on dirt,” O’Neill said. “The give on the grass is probably very comforting to him. It’s amazing that he’s that versatile.”