Lava Man, the only horse to sweep the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I), Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) and Pacific Classic (gr. I) in the same year, has been retired.

Lava Man won grade I races on dirt, turf and synthetic surfaces and joined Native Diver as the only three-time winner of the Hollywood Gold Cup. In all, he won seven grade I races.

Steve Kenly of STD Racing Stable, co-owner of Lava Man, said the decision was made following initial examinations of the horse at Alamo Pintado Equine Medical Center in Los Olivos, Calif., east of Santa Barbara.

Lava Man retires with 17 wins in 46 starts for total earnings of $5, 268,706. That puts him third among California-breds, behind only Tiznow, the nation’s Horse of the Year in 2000, and Best Pal.

A 7-year-old California-bred son of SLEW CITY SLEW out of
Li’l Ms. Leonard, by Nostalgia’s Star, Lava Man is the most lucrative claim in racing history. Jason Wood and the STD Racing Stable of Steve, Dave, and Tracy Kenly claimed Lava Man for $50,000 at Del Mar in 2004. Since then, Lava Man has earned $5,180,678, a record amount for a horse to win after being claimed.

“I think we realized pretty quickly into it how we were with a special horse,” said Doug O’Neill, who has conditioned Lava Man for the Kenlys and Wood.

On Sept 4th 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.

Old Friends, located at 94-acre Dream Chase Farm near Georgetown, Ky., was founded by Blowen in 2002 as a retirement and rescue facility for retired Thoroughbreds. It has grown steadily and now hosts two to five tours daily for the public.