Kona Gold Bio

Kona Gold was bred by Carols Perez at Twilite Farm in La Grange, Ky., and sold at the 1995 Keeneland September Yearling Sale for $35,000. He was owned by his trainer, Bruce Headley (who also broke him), and Andrew and Irwin Molasky.

His most famous win was the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (6 furlongs) in Churchill Downs and Breeders' Cup record time of 1:07.77 under Alex Solis. He also nailed the Eclipse Award as Champion Sprinter that year. His 11 stakes wins for trainer Bruce Headley, included the San Carlos Handicap (G1), Potrero Grande Breeders' Cup Handicap (G2) twice, Palos Verdes H. (G2), Ancient Title Breeders' Cup Handicap (G2), Bing Crosby Breeders' Cup Handicap (G2) twice, El Conejo Handicap (G3), Los Angeles Handicap (G3), and El Conejo Handicap (L) setting a new track record. He retired with $2,293,284 in earnings and a record of 31-14-7-2.

In 2007, he was moved to the Kentucky Horse Park. He was the first sprinter since Forego to take up residence in the Hall of Champions. In the two years that Kona Gold lived at the park, he became a favorite of visitors because he was always willing to be petted and photographed. 

Shortly after Kona Gold’s death, John Nicholson, former executive director of the park, stated “Kona Gold came to the park because he deserved his place among our other champions, and also because he endeared himself to the racing public during his illustrious career on the track.  It was a case of ‘love at first sight’ for our staff when Kona Gold stepped off the van two years ago as a new resident of the Hall of Champions.  Not only was he a handsome animal with kind eyes, he was also gentle and good.  He was definitely one of my personal favorites because he had such a good heart.”

On September 25, 2009 Kona Gold was humanely euthanized after suffering a severe fracture in his front leg while exercising in his paddock. He is buried at the Hall of Champions.