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HORSE RACING

Eight standing in way of Lava Man

June 28, 2007|Bob Mieszerski | Times Staff Writer

Lava Man will have eight opponents when he tries to match Native Diver with a third consecutive victory in the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on Saturday at Hollywood Park.

The 6-year-old gelding, who won the race by a record 8 3/4 lengths in 2005 and by the smallest of noses a year ago, will leave from post eight under high-weight of 124 pounds.

The impost is the same as he carried in 2006 when he defeated 24-1 longshot Ace Blue in a thriller.

Corey Nakatani, 0 for 10 in the Grade I before his success last year, has the return engagement on Lava Man for owners Steve, Tracy and Dave Kenly and Jason Wood and trainer Doug O'Neill.

The horse Lava Man has to fear most as he tries to make history is Molengao. Second to Lava Man in the Santa Anita Handicap in March, the Brazilian-bred comes off an impressive win in the Mervyn LeRoy Handicap earlier in the meet, defeating, among others, Buzzards Bay, who returned to win the Californian. Buzzards Bay won't run in the Gold Cup because of a sore back.

The 11-race card also includes the $100,000 Landaluce Stakes for 2-year-old fillies and the $250,000 American Handicap for older turf performers.

A Grade II at 1 1/8 miles, the American is headed by The Tin Man, who won the Shoemaker Mile on May 28 in his first start as a 9-year-old for owner-breeders Ralph and Aury Todd and trainer Richard Mandella.

*

Buddy Johnston, a prominent owner and breeder in California, has been named as the fourth winner of the annual Laffit Pincay Jr. Award.

The award, which will be presented between races Saturday, is given to an "individual who has served the sport with integrity, extraordinary dedication, determination and distinction."

Pincay, who rode many winners for the Johnston family's Old English Rancho, will present the award.

bob.mieszerski@latimes.com

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

Gold Cup draw

The draw for Saturday's 10th race at Hollywood Park. Post time 4:50 p.m.; TV coverage begins at 4 p.m. on ESPN2.

*--* PP. Horse Jockey 1. My Creed Russell Baze 2. A.P. Xcellent Mike E. Smith 3. Saint Stephen Jose Valdivia Jr. 4. Porfido Joel Rosario 5. Molengao Victor Espinoza 6. Wilko Joseph Talamo 7. A.P. Arrow David Romero Flores 8. Lava Man Corey Nakatani 9. Big Booster Michael Baze

*--*

Purse: $750,000. Age: 3 years and older. Distance: 1 1/4 miles. Surface: All-weather track.

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