Didn’t think I’d be using this photo again anytime soon! (Charles Pravata)
I love Lava Man. I have the above shot of him by Charles Pravata (from the 2008 DRF Calendar) up in my office where I can stare at it at length. If hard pressed, my answer to the question “who is your all time favorite horse” might be Lava Man as I arrived on the scene just as he was at his height. And to be honest my initial thought when I saw the crazy news about him was “heck yeah!”.
Like everyone else I went to the initial post (dated September 21st) and there weren’t a lot of details (that have since been added), which lead to speculation on the worst… the worst motives, the worst outcome, the worst everything. But then reports starting pouring out with details about crazy things like stem cell therapy and donating winnings to retirement funds.
From the Thoroughbred Times:
“He had to continue training at Magali as part of the stem cell treatments,” O’Neill said. “They found they were able to actually grow back cartilage. No one knew that was possible, so it’s exciting that this treatment may be able to help other equine athletes in the future.
“He really took to the treatment and it has done wonders for him. The doctor said that he is and will be the strongest horse in my barn. I couldn’t put into words how good he looks and how happy he seems to be back in training.”
If and when he runs, all of the trainer earnings will be donated to CARMA (California Retirement Management Account) so people don’t think this is all about greed.
And then there was his crazy first reported work out. Maybe there is something to this stem cell business or as a friend emailed to me upon reading the initial news “That poor horse. His ankles are like glass and he is DONE being a racehorse”.
So, what do you think, is it cool or alarming… or a little of both? I come down somewhere between “Concerned but hopeful” and “Stem cells? Very Cool!”. Of course, if it ends like it did for Gorgeous George there will be plenty of anger and hate to go around. They do seem to love him and want him to be happy so let’s just all keep our fingers crossed that Lava Man has an enjoyable and SAFE stay at fantasy camp.
For some back story on the story, namely how the heck does a horse like Lava Man go under the radar with something like this, check out Ed DeRosa’s account at his Big Event Blog. And on a Jockey’s note, Corey Nakatani must be happy with this news!
And finally, in our last poll, Fav Summer Racing, our east coast bias was showing!
I was too lazy to type all that out, but thanks as always for participating!