Kona Gold has been invited to live the rest of his life at the Hall of Champions at the Kentucky Horse Park near Lexington, according to a release from his co-owners Andrew and Irvin Molasky.
In 2000, at six, Kona Gold won the Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) at Churchill Downs, breaking the track and Breeders’ Cup records for six furlongs, getting the distance in 1:07.77.
That same year, he was awarded an Eclipse Award for champion sprinter and was runner-up for the Horse of the Year.
Kona Gold (Java Gold—Double Sunrise, by Slew o' Gold) is the only Breeders’ Cup winner to compete in five consecutive Breeders’ Cups from 1988-2002. He finished third in 1998 and was second in 1999.
During his career he won the San Carlos Handicap (gr. II) and Palos Verdes Handicap (gr. II); and won the following races twice: Bing Crosby Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II), Potrero Grande Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II), Ancient Title Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) and El Conejo Handicap (gr. III). At 8, he won the Los Angeles Handicap (gr. III) and at 9 won the El Conejo Handicap.
Kona Gold retired at the age of 10, ending his career with 11 stakes wins, an overall record of 30 starts (14-7-2), and $2,293,284 in total earnings. His regular rider was Alex Solis.
At age 13, Kona Gold has been serving as Headley's stable pony in Southern California since his retirement in 2003.
With the death of champion John Henry, who retired to the Hall of Champions in 1985, the owners of Kona Gold – Bruce Headley, Irwin Molasky and Andrew Molasky – received a call from Kentucky Horse Park to invite Kona Gold to live the rest of his deserving years in Lexington.
Headley and the Molaskys are honored at the invitation. “And part of the decision-making process will certainly contain thoughts that this great gelding really belongs to the American public,” said Andrew Molasky.