Kona Gold to Take a Break, Headley Says

Kona Gold to Take a Break, Headley Says
Photo: Benoit photo
Kona Gold, right, caught Radiata, left, to win the El Conejo earlier this year.
Kona Gold emerged from his third-place finish in Saturday's Potrero Grande Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) at Santa Anita in good order, but will be given a brief freshening at trainer Bruce Headley's nearby farm.

"I've got clover about (three feet) high," Headley said on Sunday. "I've got Bermuda grass that's about (a foot) high, so I'm just going to take Kona there and turn him out for about three weeks. He's been in his stall for two years now so I think it will be a nice change for him."

Kona Gold, the 121-pound high weight in the Portrero Grande, gave six pounds to winner Bluesthestandard and lost by 2 1/2 lengths.

Headley has been highly critical of the weight Kona Gold been assigned this year and even kept the son of Java Gold out of the San Carlos Handicap (gr. I) on March 2, a race he won in 2001. The 69-year-old conditioner hinted at retirement for the veteran sprinter if he didn't start receiving imposts that he felt to be fairer. But Headley wasn't thinking retirement at all a day after the horse's latest loss, his fourth in five outings.

"He'll be ready to run again at Del Mar," Headley said.

Nine-year-old Kona Gold, who earned the Eclipse Award as the country's top sprinter in 2000 after winning the Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I), has amassed a record of 29-14-7-2 and a bankroll of $2,289,384.

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