12/30/2009 12:00AM

Lava Man gets precautionary exam


Lava Man, the seven-time Grade 1 winner who finished last in Sunday's Grade 2 San Gabriel Handicap in his first start in 18 months, was scheduled to be sent to the Alamo Pintado Equine Clinic in Los Olivos, Calif., on Wednesday for a precautionary examination, trainer Doug O'Neill said.

Lava Man was retired in summer 2008 and underwent stem-cell therapy to regenerate cartilage tissue in an ankle earlier this year. Dr. Doug Herthel, of Alamo Pintado, oversaw the procedure.

Lava Man, 8, was brought out of retirement in late summer. In the San Gabriel, Lava Man led to the final turn and faded from contention through the stretch.

O'Neill said Lava Man is expected to be at the clinic through the end of the week, with a diagnosis likely in coming days.

"It's a great thing to be able to send him up there," O'Neill said. "Dr. Herthel has got all the bells and whistles for horse diagnostics."

On Wednesday, O'Neill was reluctant to predict when Lava Man would start again, pending the exam results. He said the gelding's legs were "ice cold" after the San Gabriel.

"I think he deserves another chance or two," O'Neill said. "We'll see how it goes with Herthel in a few days."