Fan-favorite racehorse-turned-stable pony Lava Man has once again returned to Santa Anita Park. The 17-year-old gelding underwent colic surgery on July 31 this year, and was sent back to trainer Doug O’Neill’s stable in late August. From there, the Hall of Fame racehorse was sent to a farm to continue his recovery.

“Lava Man is doing really well,” O’Neill told XBTV. “We gave him extra time, and he’s been relaxing and recovering in the beautiful Sunshine Farms in Bradbury, California here about seven miles East of Santa Anita. We’ve been checking in on him a lot and he looks phenomenal.”

Lava Man is expected to be able to return to his stable pony career, O’Neill said, but the team will wait to let the horse tell them when he’s ready to go back to work.

“We’re gonna just kind of play it by ear,” O’Neill continued. “He’s a horse that just absolutely loves and thrives on working, so as long as he still has that mentality we look forward to having him out there coaching again.”

Lava Man won 17 of his 47 starts for earnings of over $5.2 million. He raced from 2003-2009, with major victories in the Hollywood Gold Cup (three times), Santa Anita Handicap (twice) and Pacific Classic.


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