10/22/2009 11:00PM

Lava Man sent in for a checkup

Benoit & Associates
Lava Man, with Tyler Baze up, runs sixth in the Grade 1 Eddie Read Handicap at Del Mar in July of last year, his most recent start. Retired after that race, he has resumed training in recent weeks.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Lava Man, the seven-time Grade 1 winner who earned more than $5.2 million, and Informed, the winner of two Grade 2 stakes in California this year, were sent to the Alamo Pintado Equine Clinic in central California for medical tests on Friday, trainer Doug O'Neill said.

While Informed has encountered an undisclosed setback and will miss the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile here on Nov. 7, Lava Man's trip to the clinic was downplayed by the trainer, who insists the popular gelding has not suffered an injury or any kind of physical setback.

Dr. Doug Herthel of Alamo Pintado asked O'Neill to send the 8-year-old Lava Man to the clinic for a checkup, a month after he was put back in training for a potential comeback, O'Neill said. Lava Man has not raced in 15 months.

"He's going to Alamo Pintado to get a once-over," O'Neill said. "Herthel came down the other day and loved what he saw. I think they'll do another nuclear scan and [other] diagnostics.

"I think he deserves to take advantage of every piece of technology [available]. I'm not sending him in an 'Oh, no' kind of way. He'll be up there for a day or so."

After he was retired in the summer of 2008, Lava Man underwent stem-cell therapy, where cells that can promote healing and regenerate healthy tissues were extracted from his bone marrow and injected into another area of the body, in this case his ankle to regenerate cartilage.

Following that procedure, Lava Man began light training at Magali Farms in Santa Ynez, Calif., earlier this year.

O'Neill is hoping to start Lava Man during the Hollywood Park fall meeting, which runs from Nov. 13 to Dec. 20.

Lava Man worked five furlongs in 1:00.60 at Hollywood Park on Wednesday, his fourth workout since rejoining the O'Neill stable in early September.

Owned by Jason Wood and the Kenly family, Lava Man has won 17 of 46 starts. He has not started since finishing sixth in the Grade 1 Eddie Read Handicap at Del Mar in July 2008.

Informed won the Grade 2 Californian Stakes in June and the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap in July, but has lost his two most recent starts, finishing ninth in the Pacific Classic and eighth in the Goodwood Stakes.

O'Neill is hopeful that Informed can start in the $3.08 million Japan Cup Dirt at Hanshin Racecourse on Dec. 6.

"I need to get more details on him," O'Neill said.

"He's out of the Breeders' Cup. He'll miss a week or so of training. He's the type of horse, he needs every thing to go perfectly in that type of field."

O'Neill said he hopes to start Square Eddie, the winner of the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland in 2008, in the BC Sprint on Nov. 7. Square Eddie was sixth in the Grade 1 Ancient Title Stakes here on Oct. 11, his first start since a third-place finish in the Grade 2 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland last April.

Artiste Royal retired

Artiste Royal, who won 7 of 35 starts and $997,790, has been retired to stud in France, trainer Neil Drysdale said earlier this week. Artiste Royal finished sixth in his final start, the Grade 1 Clement Hirsch Turf Championship here on Oct. 11.

Owned for much of his career by Dave and Jill Heerensperger, Artiste Royal raced in France, throughout the United States, in Japan, and in Hong Kong.

By Danehill, the 8-year-old won five stakes, two in France and three in this country - the Grade 1 Clement Hirsch Turf Championship in 2007, the Grade 1 Charles Whittingham Handicap in 2008, and the Grade 2 San Marcos Stakes earlier this year. He placed in 11 stakes.

Artiste Royal will stand at Haras d'Etreham in Normandy, France. The deal was completed by bloodstock agents Shawn Dugan, who is Drysdale's wife, and Robert Natos. Artiste Royal has begun a 30-day quarantine, Drysdale said.

Global Hunter headed east

There will be no Breeders' Cup race for Global Hunter, the winner of the Grade 1 Eddie Read Handicap at Del Mar in July. Trainer A.C. Avila said on Friday that Global Hunter will be pointed for the $300,000 Hill 'n' Dale Cigar Mile on the main track at Aqueduct on Nov. 28.

Global Hunter worked a half-mile in 49.40 seconds on Santa Anita's training track on Friday. The 6-year-old Argentine-bred finished second in the Grade 2 Oak Tree Mile on turf here on Oct. 10.

Avila said an expensive supplemental fee for the Breeders' Cup was the main reason Global Hunter will not start in those races.

* O'Neill has sent 11 horses to Philadelphia Park where he will have a small division this year, he said earlier this week.