Lava Man Retiring to Old Friends

October 21, 2022

Hot Rod Charlie, ‘Freak’ Flightline Eye Bc Classic

ARCADIA, Calif.—Hall of Fame Thoroughbred Lava Man, Doug O’Neill’s stable pony since 2010, will retire to Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Farm in Lexington, Ky. after escorting Hot Rod Charlie to his meeting with Flightline in the Breeders’ Cup Classic Nov. 5 at Keeneland.

O’Neill announced the news on his Facebook page about Lava Man, affectionately called “The Coach” at the trainer’s barn.

Claimed for $50,000 at Del Mar on Aug. 13, 2004, Lava Man, now 21, won 17 of 47 races including the Grade I Hollywood Gold Cup three straight years.The gelded son of the Seattle Slew stallion Slew City Slew retired with earnings of $5,268,706.

Hot Rod Charlie in an October 10th work at Santa Anita. Photo by Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire

Hot Rod Charlie, ‘Freak’ Flightline Eye Bc Classic

Millionaire Santa Anita neighbors Flightline and Hot Rod Charlie are poised to meet in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic Nov. 5 at Keeneland.

Flightline, undefeated in five races won by a combined margin of 62 ¾ lengths and already deified by many racing raconteurs, has earned $1,394,800, while world traveler Hot Rod Charlie boasts a 5-5-4 record from 18 starts for a booming bankroll of $5,556,720.

Flightline, a $1 million son of Tapit conditioned by John Sadler, has been training at his Santa Anita headquarters since an eye-opening 19 1/4-length triumph in Del Mar’s Pacific Classic on Sept. 3.

Hot Rod Charlie, trained by two-time Kentucky Derby winner Doug O’Neill, has been familiarizing himself at Keeneland since defeating Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike in the Lukas Classic at Churchill Downs on Oct. 2 under Tyler Gaffalione, who has regained the mount on the son of Oxbow since Flavien Prat, rider of Flightline in all of his previous races, will be aboard in the Classic for the sixth consecutive time.

Flightline in his October 18 work under Juan Leyva at Santa Anita. Photo by Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire

“So far, so good,” said O’Neill. “Charlie had a nice, easy half (mile breeze in 49.40 at Keeneland Oct. 15). He came out of it in good shape and he’ll have a couple more works between now and the Classic, so we’re happy where we are.

“Obviously, Flightline is one of the better horses to come around in a long time. He’s not a horse you’re eager to compete against, but Charlie tries hard every time and the Classic should have an honest, fast pace, so it sho

While Flightline has yet to race at Keeneland, Hot Rod Charlie is more than comfortable on the Lexington, Ky. oval.

 “He’s run well at Keeneland,” O’Neill pointed out. “He was second at big odds (94-1 by less than a length to Essential Quality with Gaffalione up in the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile), and he’s been training there for the Classic.

“I like that and the fact that he’s been stabled there and is familiar with the track, which are all positive, but it’s one day at a time. We’re moving forward.”

Santa Anita Press Release
Photo of Hot Rod Charlie being led by Lava Man at Parx the day before the Pennsylvania Derby by Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO

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@jonathanstettin Your article re reading when a horse dead on board made me some $ just now. Untapable was, IMO, odds-on, but dead. TY!

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