It is all systems go for a trip to Dubai by Spring At Last, who worked an easy four furlongs in :50 1/5 at Hollywood Park Feb. 25 for trainer Doug O’Neill.
“It was just a leg-stretcher,” O’Neill said of Spring At Last’s first workout since his victory in the Donn Handicap (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park Feb. 2. “The plan is to run him in the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) March 29. I’d say he’ll probably have two more works before he heads out to Dubai. One thing we know about his horse, he travels well.”
In addition to his recent trip to Florida from his California base, Spring At Last has been to Dubai before. The Kentucky-bred son of Silver Deputy was shipped to Nad al Sheba in 2007 and won the $1 million Godolphin Mile (UAE-II) by 2¾ lengths. O’Neill had hoped to run Spring At Last in the 2007 Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) May 28 at Belmont Park, but the colt was taken out of training in May due to a chip in his right front ankle.
Spring At Last then made a successful return to the races for owners J. Paul Reddam and WinStar Farm by winning an allowance/optional claiming race on the turf Santa Anita Dec. 26 prior to his triumph in the Donn.
Meanwhile, O’Neill said Lava Man currently is jogging twice around the Hollywood Park main track each day.
“He’ll probably start galloping the first of March,” O’Neill said. “His first breeze probably would be sometime the middle of March.”
Lava Man, who boasts career earnings of $5,214,706 for owners STD Racing Stable and Jason Wood, had been taken out of training after finishing sixth in the California Cup Classic Handicap Nov. 3 during the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meet. He returned to O’Neill’s Hollywood Park barn from NexStar Ranch on Jan. 26.
O’Neill expects Lava Man to return to the races at the Hollywood Park spring-summer meet, with the main objective a fourth consecutive victory in the Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I). Last year, Lava Man became just the second horse in history to win the Hollywood Gold Cup three times. Native Diver is the only other horse to have accomplished that feat, having done so in the 1960s.