Retirement on Lava Man’s Horizon
Lava Man is probably one of the most legendary horses on the track today. The seven year old gelding went from being a $50 000 claiming horse, to a racing phenomenon. But lately, even though he still enjoys racing, it seems that he is not able to outrun the younger talents anymore and his trainer, Doug O’Neill, believes that it is time for the racing great to make a graceful exit from horse racing. Though his departure will be a heartbreaking moment for all his fans, owners and trainer, retiring Lava Man to live out the rest of his life on green pastures is on the discussion table.
Born on 20 March 2001, sired by Slew City Slew and foaled by L’il Ms Leonard, Lava Man began his racing career as an average claiming horse, not performing badly, but also not standing out from the crowd. In 2004, the STD Racing Stable, consisting of Jason Wood and the Kenly family, took one look at Lava Man and asked their trainer O’Neill to claim him for $50 000, which he duly did. Trying to establish what the horse was capable of, and now under the guidance of Doug O’Neill, they entered Lava Man the Derby Trial Stakes where he came first and then into the Malibu Stakes, a Grade 1 race, where he came second against the very talented Rock Hard Ten. O’Neill soon knew that they had stumbled across a horse that would not only astound them, but leave spectators spellbound.
In his career, Lava Man went on to win major races such as the Californian Stakes in 2005, the Hollywood Gold Cup in 2005, 2006 and 2007, the Sunshine Millions Classic in 2006, the Santa Anita Handicap in 2006 and 2007, the Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap, Pacific Classic Stakes and Goodwood Breeder’s Cup handicap in 2006 and the Sunshine Millions Turf in 2007. To date, Lava Man has brought in over $5.2 million and was honored with the California Bred Champion Older Horse and Horse of the Year Awards in 2005 and 2006, the California Bred Champion Turf Horse in 2006 and the California Bred Champion Older Horse in 2007.
After suffering his sixth loss at the Eddie Read Handicap Grade 1 horse racing event, where he was last, Lava Man’s owners and trainers are considering retiring him while he is still known as one of the top horses in horse racing. It is not an easy decision and the plans for his future will only be announced once a unanimous decision has been made. So for now, one of the most love racehorses of our time remains unofficially retired, giving fans the opportunity to remember him in his glory days and adjust to his departure before having to say good-bye.