12/12/2009 12:00AM

Lava Man scratched from Native Diver


Lava Man was officially scratched from Saturday's $150,000 Native Diver Handicap at Hollywood Park on race morning because of track condition, trainer Doug O'Neill said.

The 8-year-old gelding, unraced since July 2008, will be pointed for the $150,000 San Gabriel Handicap over 1 1/8 miles on turf at Santa Anita on Dec. 27.

O'Neill said on Friday that he would scratch Lava Man from the Native Diver because of rain that day and expected rain early Saturday. Rain fell until late morning on Saturday and was expected to continue through the afternoon.

"It's a safe track but a heavier than normal track," he said. "He hasn't been training on that track."

Lava Man has won 17 of 46 starts and $5,268,706. He was retired in the summer of 2008 but underwent a series of stem cell procedures later that year to regenerate cartilage in his ankles. The procedure led O'Neill and the partnership that owns Lava Man - Steve, Tracy and Dave Kenly, and Jason Wood - to put him back in training this summer.

The partnership and O'Neill have the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Classic for California-breds and Florida-breds at Santa Anita on Jan. 30 as an early season goal for Lava Man.