Lava Man, who returned to racing after a more than 17-month layoff only to finish last in the San Gabriel Handicap (gr. IIT) Dec. 27 at Santa Anita, has been retired after his failed comeback attempt.
A jubilant Michael Blowen announced Thursday that Lava Man, one of the great geldings of all time, is scheduled to arrive at Old Friends on Sept. 16, where he will live out the rest of his days.
Two key men in Doug O'Neill's Del Mar barn were saddened by the announcement that seven-time grade I winner Lava Man won't be coming to the barn anymore.
Lava Man, a seven-time grade I-winner and earner of $5,268,706, has been retired.
We all know about Lava Man's dislike for any track east of the Sierra Madres and west of Santa Catalina. And we know his speed figures are not exactly in orbit. And we know he hasn't been beating champions in the Golden State. But Lava Man nonetheless is a true phenomenon, and America needs him badly.
Lava Man, the 5-year-old son of Slew City Slew on Saturday added the trophy from the Pacific Classic -- which began in 1991 -- to his victories in the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 8 and the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 4.
For Lava Man, it's time to go with the flow. A victory in the $1 million Pacific Classic (gr. I) Sunday at 1 1/4 miles will make Lava Man the first horse to sweep Southern California's "Big Three" grade I handicaps in the same year.
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