August 5, 2007 |
I'M lying slack-jawed on a plank of hot wood, supine and defenseless over a gaping hole in the Earth's crust. Magma flows about a mile below me; above me, a drop of water condenses on the ceiling of a dimly illuminated steam room in the Myvatn Nature Baths, the lesser-known cousin to Iceland's iconic Blue Lagoon, that geothermal destination outside of Reykjavik often touted for its health benefits. Myvatn, near the town of Akureyri (riddled with consonants, Icelandic words are not easy to tackle, but saying "mee-VAHT" and "ah-KOO-ray-ree" will get you by)
August 1, 2007 |
The wall of huge red lava lamps lining the driveway of Anaheim's new Hotel Menage sends a clear message: This is not your father's Disneyland hotel. Anywhere else and the Menage might not make waves. But this is Anaheim, land of the cram-the-kids-in-the-room motor inn and convention-friendly, cookie-cutter chains. The Disneyland resort area has nearly 21,000 hotel rooms, but Hotel Menage is widely considered its first boutique property.
July 14, 2007 |
Lava Man's Gold Cup victory June 30 was not a thing of beauty the way his first win in the race in 2005 was, but the California-bred gelding's history-making victory in Hollywood Park's main event was the highlight of the spring-summer meet that will conclude Sunday. In winning the Gold Cup for a third consecutive year, equaling Native Diver's accomplishment from 1965 to '67, Lava Man did not run fast and did not defeat a top-quality field.
July 7, 2007
Saturday's Hollywood Gold Cup was won for the third consecutive year by a true champion in Lava Man. Unlike a certain other local athlete, who also has three titles to his resume, Lava Man will never demand to be traded. He will never say a negative word about his owners. He respects the coaching he is given, follows the game plan of his jockey, and is a team player. When things don't go so well and he comes up short, he tries harder the next time.
July 1, 2007 |
Only one of the hundred-plus people who were part of the winner's circle celebration after Lava Man's latest victory in the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup had mixed emotions about the outcome Saturday. A part of Jerry Lambert, the regular rider for Native Diver, wanted that legendary thoroughbred to continue to stand alone as the only horse to win Hollywood Park's signature race three years running as he did from 1965-67.
June 30, 2007 |
If Lava Man wins a record-equaling third consecutive Hollywood Gold Cup today at Hollywood Park, one person will be conspicuously absent from the winner's circle photo. Trainer Doug O'Neill, who claimed the California-bred gelding for $50,000 for owners Steve, Tracy and Dave Kenly and Jason Wood nearly three years ago, won't be in Inglewood. O'Neill, his wife Linette and mother Dixie are in the midst of a one-week vacation in Ireland, celebrating Dixie's 70th birthday.
June 28, 2007 |
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.
June 28, 2007 |
Clyde Friend's life changed the moment his bulldozer hit the first tree on a hot summer afternoon in 2002 as he leveled a hill behind his workshop. Chips flew everywhere, a small explosion of brown and white shards. He hopped off the dozer to investigate. There, embedded in the hill, was a mostly intact fossilized tree trunk standing upright in solid rock. "Well, that's different," he recalls thinking.
June 26, 2007 |
Saturday afternoon at Hollywood Park, Lava Man will have at least half a dozen quality horses to beat for his third straight Hollywood Gold Cup. Also, one ghost. The striking black horse from Doug O'Neill's barn will be chasing a striking black horse from history. When Native Diver made his celebrated run in the 1960s, racing was a main player on the Southern California sports scene. Crowds of 50,000 or more showed up to wager, root and adore.
June 25, 2007 |
When Native Diver won his third Hollywood Gold Cup in a row in 1967, the magnificent California bred carried 123 pounds while defeating, among others, Pretense and Biggs. Lava Man, who will try to match Native Diver's feat when the Gold Cup is run for the 68th time on Saturday at Hollywood Park, will be asked to carry one more pound.