Kona Gold Starts Rodeo Training

Champion sprinter Kona Gold is all set to begin his new career on Monday when he's being shipped to a Southern California farm where he'll train as a rodeo horse and prepare for his future duties as a stable pony, trainer Bruce Headley said.

"He's going to (bloodstock agent) Julie Adair's place (in nearby Rowland Heights)," Headley said. "For the next three months (Adair) will be roping off him, chasing cattle and pulling logs and things. He'll also be visiting racetracks like Fairplex and Hollywood Park and Santa Anita."

Headley credits Adair with converting Son of a Pistol, a multiple grade II winner who earned more than $850,000, into his current stable pony.

"When Julie's done with him, I'll ride back and forth to the track with the sets," Headley said. "And he'll visit his many friends along the rail every day."

Kona Gold was retired in late July after a fifth-place finish in the Bing Crosby Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at Del Mar and sent to Headley's Arcadia farm. Since then, he's been resting and relaxing and receiving occasional visitors.

The son of Java Gold won the 2000 Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) and the Eclipse Award that year as the country's top sprinter. Overall, he won 14 of 30 starts, with seven seconds and two thirds, for earnings of $2,293,384. In his Breeders' Cup triumph he established a track record of 1:07.77 at Churchill Downs for the six-furlong distance.