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Sorry to see this fan favourite gone. RIP Kona
KONA GOLD EUTHANIZED
Kentucky Horse Park Mourns the Loss of Popular Champion Sprinter
LEXINGTON, KY (September 25, 2009) Kona Gold, winner of the 2000 Eclipse Award for Sprinter of the Year was humanely euthanized at the Kentucky Horse Park this morning after suffering a severe fracture to his left front leg while exercising in his paddock. He was 15-years-old.
Within minutes of the accident, he was taken to Hagyard Equine Medical Institute for evaluation where it was determined by the surgical staff that his injury was beyond repair. The unanimous decision to euthanize was made by the surgeons, his former trainer Bruce Headley, and the staff at the Kentucky Horse Park who have loved and cared for him during his retirement. Photo by James Shambhu
John Nicholson, 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."
Kona Gold was a popular Thoroughbred who won the 2000 Breeders' Cup Sprint (6 furlongs) in Churchill Downs and Breeders' Cup record time of 1:07.77 under Alex Solis, and nailed the Eclipse Award as Champion Sprinter that year. He also placed second and third in previous Breeders' Cup Sprints. His 11 stakes wins for trainer Bruce Headley included the San Carlos H. (G1), Potrero Grande Breeders' Cup H. (G2) twice, Palos Verdes H. (G2), Ancient Title Breeders' Cup H. (G2), Bing Crosby Breeders' Cup H. (G2) twice, El Conejo H. (G3), Los Angeles H. (G3), and El Conejo H. (L) setting a new track record.
He retired at the age of 9 with $2,293,284 in earnings and a record of 31-14-7-2.
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. He will be greatly missed by all of those who had the opportunity to care for and know him.
Kona Gold was bred by Carlos Perez' Twilite Farm, 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. When it was decided to send him to the Kentucky Horse Park, Irwin Molasky said, "We had a meeting about it because this is a difficult decision for us-because we love this animal so much-but we decided that he belongs to the public. It's been such a pleasure to own an athlete like this and be involved in racing. He was such an honest horse and won so many graded races."
The handsome bay son of Java Man - Double Sunrise by Slew o' Gold was buried on the Memorial Walk of Champions alongside other legendary former residents of the Hall of Champions Bold Forbes and Forego, and near the graves of John Henry and Alysheba.
Nicholson concluded, "While this is a sad day, we will always appreciate that Kona's owners made the decision to send him to the Kentucky Horse Park, and our sympathy goes out to them and to all the people who have cherished him through the years."
EDITOR'S NOTE: The recent photo (above) by James Shambhu of Kona Gold with John Nicholson is available for use with this release by emailing Cindy.Rullman@ky.gov.
Just awful news....here is what I have.
Champion sprinter Kona Gold euthanized
Photo by James Shambhu
by Ed DeRosa
Kona Gold, the champion sprinter in 2000 after he won the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) in 1:07.77 to set a track record at Churchill Downs, died on Friday morning after suffering a spiral fracture on his radius while exercising in his paddock at the Kentucky Horse Park.
The 15-year-old gelded son of Java Gold arrived at the Horse Park in 2008 after beginning his retirement as a stable pony in the barn of his trainer and co-owner Bruce Headley. Kona Gold retired in 2003 after a career in which he won 14 of 30 races, including 11 stakes, and earned $2,293,384.
Kathy Hopkins of the Horse Park said that Headley, who is in Lexington for the Keeneland September yearling sale, was immediately notified of the injury and was conferred with throughout the process of first treating Kona Gold and then making the decision to euthanize the champion.
Headley took exceptional pride in Kona Gold, who he bought for $35,000 at the 1995 Keeneland September yearling sale. His California license plate was registered as “107 3” to commemorate Kona Gold’s time in winning the Sprint over 13 rivals.
“Unfortunately, he had one of those freaky accidents exercising in the paddock,” Hopkins said. “He planted his foot down and fractured his radius. It’s nothing you can predict or prevent. He was just a happy horse playing.”
Kona Gold’s other Grade 1 win came in the 2001 San Carlos Handicap, though he won graded stakes races in five different seasons from age five through nine
http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/ ... euthanized
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News > Champion Kona Gold Euthanized Kona Gold
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Photo: Tom Hall
Champion Kona Gold Euthanized
Updated: Friday, September 25, 2009 8:15 PM
Posted: Friday, September 25, 2009 4:31 PM
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By Erin Ryder
Kona Gold, a resident of the Hall of Champions at the Kentucky Horse Park, was euthanized Sept. 25 after a paddock accident. The 15-year-old gelding had resided at the park since November 2007.
Cathy Roby, Hall of Champions manager, said a visitor alerted the staff to a problem with one of the horses at about 8:30 a.m. EDT, just before the Hall of Champions residents are usually brought in for the day.
Kona Gold, peacefully pastured with Da Hoss, had sustained a spiral fracture of the left forearm sometime overnight, as X-rays at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute would later show. Surgeons at Hagyard concluded that, due to its location, the injury could not be repaired.
Roby said Kona Gold’s co-owner and trainer Bruce Headley was in town for the Keeneland sale, and made the decision to euthanize the champion.
“They said they didn't want him to suffer, and it really didn't seem like there was anything logical that could be done,” Roby said.
The cause of the injury is unknown. While a steady rain throughout the week in Central Kentucky made conditions slick, neither of the horses were muddy. Roby said she didn't think a kick would cause a fracture of that type.
“The only thing we can think of is maybe he just twisted it wrong,” Roby said.
This has been a tough year at the Hall of Champions. Alysheba, a Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner and Horse of the Year, was euthanized March 27, 2009, just a few months after he took up residence in the stall formerly occupied by champion John Henry, a 22-year resident who was euthanized in October 2007.
As a retirement home for equine legends, the staff at the Hall of Champions expect to one day say goodbye to their charges—but not at age 15.
“This just totally s your mind. He was the second-youngest horse in the barn – you'd never expect it,” Roby said. “It's so surreal—I guess it hasn't soaked in yet, but it doesn’t seem real.”
Kona Gold Slideshow
Remembering Champion Kona Gold.
As a 6-year-old, Kona Gold won the 2000 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, the son of Java Gold won an Eclipse Award as champion sprinter and was runner-up for the Horse of the Year.
Kona Gold is the only Breeders’ Cup winner to compete in five consecutive Breeders’ Cups from 1988-2002. He finished third in the 1998 Sprint and was runner-up to Artax the following year.
At 8, he won the Los Angeles Handicap (gr. III) and at 9 won the El Conejo Handicap (gr. III). Kona Gold retired at the age of 10, ending his career with 11 stakes wins. He scored 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.
Kona Gold’s overall record from 30 starts was 14-7-2, with earnings of $2,293,284. He spent several years as Headley’s stable pony following his retirement.
The bay was bred in Kentucky by Carlos Perez and is out of the Slew o’ Gold mare Double Sunrise. Headley purchased him for $35,000 at the 1995 Keeneland September yearling sale. He was co-owned by Irwin Molasky and Andrew Molasky, and G. Michael Singh’s High Tech Stable.
Kona Gold was invited to join the Horse Park's Hall of Champions in October 2007.
He will be interred along the back walkway to the Hall of Champions, next to Saddlebred Wild Eyed and Wicked, and across from Forego.
“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,” said John Nicholson, executive director of the park, in a statement. “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.
“While this is a sad day, we will always appreciate that Kona’s owners made the decision to send him to the Kentucky Horse Park, and our sympathy goes out to them and to all the people who have cherished him through the years,” Nicholson said.
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