by Jon White
Lava Man is scheduled to have his first workout of the year the morning of March 12 at Hollywood Park, according to trainer Doug O’Neill.
“The plan is for him to go three-eighths Wednesday,” O’Neill said. “In the last 10 days, he’s had some pretty energetic gallops, with a couple of them borderline works. He’s doing great. He looks great. He’s got a good foundation of tack walking, jogging, and then galloping. So it’s time to turn it up a notch.”
Lava Man, who had been taken out of training after finishing sixth in the California Cup Classic Handicap Nov. 3 during the Oak Tree at Santa Anita Park meet, returned to O’Neill’s Hollywood Park barn from NexStar Ranch Jan. 26. The 7-year-old California-bred gelded son of Slew City Slew—Li’l Ms. Leonard, by Nostalgia’s Star, missed this year’s Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) after winning it in 2006 and 2007. Heatseeker took this year’s Big ’Cap March 1.
Owned by STD Racing Stable and Jason Wood, Lava Man is expected to return to the races during the Hollywood Park spring/summer meet that begins April 23. His main goal at the meet is a fourth consecutive victory in the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I), which will be renewed June 28.
Last year, Lava Man became only the second horse in history to win the Hollywood Gold Cup three times, joining Native Diver, who accomplished the feat in the 1960s.
Lava Man has earned $5,214,706 during his career.