, one of two three-time winners of the Hollywood Gold Cup, will lead the post parade when Betfair Hollywood Park’s signature race is run for the 74th time Saturday.
A $50,000 claim by trainer Doug O’Neill for owners Steve, Tracy and Dave Kenly’s STD Racing Stable and Jason Wood Aug. 13, 2004, the Slew City Slew gelding developed into a multiple graded stakes winner and earned over $5.26 million in 47 starts.
A California bred out of the Nostalgia’s Star mare Li’l Miss Leonard, Lava Man matched Native Diver, who won in 1965, 1966 and 1967, with three consecutive Gold Cup victories, beginning with a record 8 ¾-length romp in 2005 and ending with a thrilling nose decision over A.P. Xcellent in 2007. His 2006 Gold Cup victory over Ace Blue was also by a nose.
Retired after trailing in the Grade II San Gabriel Handicap Dec. 27, 2009, Lava Man serves as a stable pony for O’Neill.
Bred by Lonnie Arterburn and Eve and Kim Kuhlmann, Lava Man was a Grade I winner on three surfaces – dirt, turf and synthetic – at Hollywood Park. In addition to his Gold Cup victory on dirt in 2005 and Cushion Track in 2007, the dark bay won the 2006 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap on grass.
Seven of Lava Man’s 17 victories came at Hollywood Park. Besides the three Gold Cups and the Whittingham, he also won an optional claimer and the Grade II Californian in 2005 and the $150,000 Khaled Stakes - on turf – in 2006.
The Hollywood Gold Cup is the ninth of 10 races Saturday. Post time is 1 p.m. Track gates will open at 9:55 a.m. for simulcasts.