Too Much Lead on Kona Gold, Headley Says

Trainer Bruce Headley recently made his case for assigning less weight to his champion sprinter Kona Gold, who finished sixth and last in the Palos Verdes Handicap (gr. II) in his last start Jan. 26.

Headley has been highly critical of the weight assignments Kona Gold has received for his past few races. Headley pointed out that the gelding spots as many as 12 pounds to his younger and increasingly accomplished rivals.

"They just can't keep doing that to him," Headley said. "Some of those horses he's running against are four or five years younger than Kona and he's giving them a lot of weight every time. Then when he doesn't win they say I need to retire him. What am I going to retire him for? He's 9, but he's as sound as ever. The weights just need to be fairer for him."

Kona Gold, who won Eclipse Award as 2000's outstanding sprinter, owns a career line of 28-14-7-2 for earnings of $2,262,984.

He worked five furlongs in 1:01 4/5 handily on Sunday over a main track at Santa Anita labeled "good." Regular rider Alex Solis was in the saddle for the move, which was the 34th fastest of the 109 who worked at the distance on the day.

Kona Gold had been training for a start in the San Carlos Handicap (gr. I), a seven-furlong sprint to be contested on Mar. 2, but he won't make the race because of missing too much training due to bad weather over the past week.

"I can't run him there," trainer Bruce Headley said. "We missed too much time with him so I just can't. I haven't decided where I am going to run him, but I won't be telling anyone. I can't because of the whole weight thing."

In other San Carlos developments, Carl Grether's Crafty C.T., who hasn't started since finishing third in the Cigar Mile (gr. I) in November, went an easy six furlongs in 1:13, breezing, also on Sunday. Trainer Howie Zucker said it was a nice, easy move for the 5-year-old, who also missed some training due to the rainy weather over the past week, but remains on track for the San Carlos.

"I thought he'd be really aggressive because he missed a work earlier in the week, but he was very relaxed," Zucker said. "He was just galloping for the first eighth of a mile and picked it up just a bit after that. But they gave him a breezing, which is pretty good."