Goodwood Breeders' Cup H. (gr. II)
(gr. II , 9f ,)
(DK B/ g,
Slew City Slew Li'l Ms. Leonard , by Nostalgia's Star
BKim Kuhlmann, CA.; OSTD Racing Stable and Wood, Jason; TDoug F. O'Neill
Benchmark Miss Soft Sell , by Siyah Kalem
BMary H. Caldwell, CA.; OCecil N. Peacock; TDan L. Hendricks
Holy Bull Set Them Free , by Stop the Music
BMr. & Mrs. Jerome S. Moss, KY.; OMoss, Mr. and Mrs. J. S. and Stronach Stables; TJohn A. Shirreffs
Now that Lava Man has put away his California competition in the $500,000 Goodwood Breeders’ Cup Handicap (gr. II), he’s ready for a showdown with East Coast rivals. The Oak Tree at Santa Anita victory Oct. 7 marked Lava Man’s fourth consecutive graded victory and seventh overall this year.
The 5-year-old son of Slew City Slew, who is undefeated in 2006, will make his next stop in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) - Powered by Dodge at Churchill Downs Nov. 4.
Lava Man’s rags-to-riches story has captivated fans from coast to coast. He was added to the barn of trainer Doug O’Neill when client Steve Kenly wanted to claim the gelding for $50,000 at Del Mar in August 2004.
Lava Man had formerly raced in allowance and claiming contests for Dr. Kim Kuhlmann and his wife, Eve, and trainer Lonnie Arterburn, who bred him in California. Eve Kuhlmann, who competes in triathlons, named Lava Man for an event in Hawaii.
Since he’s been under the ownership of Jason Wood and STD Racing Stable, owned by Kenly and his parents, David and Tracy, Lava Man has earned $3,706,103.
Never winning outside his native state, Lava Man would be only the second Cal-bred horse to win the Classic, with Tiznow taking the title in 2000 and 2001.
Lava Man has not lost since the Japan Cup (Jpn-I) last November, when he finished unplaced with foot problems, making his owners contemplate his retirement.
His win streak began in January, when he took the Sunshine Millions Classic at Santa Anita. He became the first horse in history to sweep the grade I Santa Anita Handicap, Hollywood Gold Cup, and Pacific Classic in the same year.
Lava Man’s latest win further confirmed his status as a leading candidate for Horse of the Year, as he has surpassed Barbaro, winner of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) on the leading earners list.
Lava Man was produced from the winning Nostalgia’s Star mare Li’l Ms. Leonard, who retired from racing with earnings of $119,772.
Lava Man is the third foal and third winner out of Li’l Ms. Leonard, who has a yearling colt by High Brite named Li’l Brite Star. Kept at Indian Creek Farm near Paris, Ky., Li’l Ms. Leonard was barren for 2006 and is in foal to Vinery stallion Purge.
Slew City Slew is the sire of 38 stakes winners, including other 2006 added-money winners City Flyer (PR-III), All I Can Get, Carson’s Castle, Mad Dog Slew, and My Sweet Sug. Slew City Slew stands at Brereton Jones’ Airdrie Stud near Versailles, Ky. His 2006 fee was $6,000.—E.M.