Kona Gold Wins the El Conejo

From Staff and Wire Reports

On the first day of 2003, Kona Gold became the third two-time winner of the $108,800 El Conejo Handicap and the fifth 9-year-old to win a stakes at Santa Anita.

Almost four years after his first El Conejo victory, the gelded son of Java Gold and 13-10 favorite saved every inch of ground under jockey Alex Solis and was up to beat 17-1 shot Radiata by a neck in 1:02 3/5 for the 5 1/2 furlongs Wednesday.

Owned by Irwin and Andrew Molasky and trainer Bruce Headley, Kona Gold earned his 14th win in 27 starts and pushed his earnings close to $2,262,984. He joined Olhaverry (1948 San Pasqual), Desert Chief III (1965 San Marcos), Super Diamond (1989 San Antonio) and Softshoe Sure Shot (1995 San Carlos) on the list of 9-year-old stakes winners in Arcadia. Softshoe Sure Shot was also trained by Headley.


The second longest shot in the field of seven -- reduced after Giovannetti and Hombre Rapido were scratched Wednesday morning -- Radiata finished three-quarters of a length in front of 5-1 shot No Armistice, then came Mellow Fellow, Our Magistrate, 3-1 second choice Avanzado and Roman Dancer.

Bob Mieszerski



Serena Williams and James Blake won singles matches, then teamed for a mixed doubles victory, leading the United States past defending champion Spain, 3-0, in the Hopman Cup at Perth, Australia.

Williams beat Virginia Ruano Pascual, 6-3, 6-3, and Blake defeated Tommy Robredo, 6-3, 6-0. Williams and Blake downed Pascual and Robredo, 6-1, 6-4, to end Spain’s chances of making the finals.

American Monica Seles defeated unheralded Peng Shuai of China, 6-2, 6-0, to reach the semifinals of the Hong Kong Ladies Challenge tournament. Seles’ fellow American, Chanda Rubin, also made it through to the semifinals by defeating last year’s finalist, Elena Dementieva of Russia, 6-4, 6-1.

Mary Pierce of France lost, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, to her doubles partner, Paola Suarez, in the second round of the ASB women’s classic at Auckland, New Zealand. In an all-American match, Jill Craybas defeated Meilen Tu, 6-4, 6-4.... American Meghann Shaughnessy beat Russia’s Lina Krasnoroutstkaya, 6-3, 7-6 (6), in the second round of the Australian women’s hardcourt championship at Gold Coast.... French Open champion Albert Costa lost to Swedish qualifier Andreas Vinciguerra, 3-6, 7-6 (5), 7-5, in the second round of the $1 million Qatar Open at Doha.

Third-seeded Andrea Remynse of Battle Creek, Mich., defeated No. 14-seeded Jessica Nguyen of Chatsworth, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, in the girls’ 18 division championship match Wednesday at the U.S. Tennis Assn. Super National Winter Championships at the Radisson Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz.


The second-seeded team of Alessandra Jordan of El Paso and Katrina Tsang of Raleigh, N.C., defeated the fifth-seeded team of Celia Durkin, a junior at Calabasas High, and Lindsey Nelson, a junior at Villa Park High, 7-5, 6-4, in the girls’ 18 doubles quarterfinals late Tuesday.



The two men unable to agree on who owned Barry Bonds’ 73rd home run ball now can’t agree on how to sell it. A judge ruled last month neither should get it outright -- Alex Popov gloved the ball for an instant and Patrick Hayashi ended up with it.

Now the only thing the men can agree on is to postpone a court order that requires them to unload the ball and split the money, perhaps $1 million.

Under Judge Kevin McCarthy’s order, Popov, Hayashi and their lawyers were to sort out the details of the sale by Dec. 30. That deadline came and went.

Texas secondary coach Duane Akina said he will interview to become the UCLA football team’s defensive coordinator in the next few days.

Protesters who intend to picket outside Augusta National Golf Club during the Masters to protest the club’s all-male membership might have difficulty getting close to the club. Richmond County (Ga.) Sheriff Ronnie Strength told the Augusta Chronicle that law-enforcement officials will “not even consider the sidewalks around the Augusta National,” and that public safety will take precedence over planned protests.


Slovenia’s Primoz Peterka won the prestigious Four Hills ski jump at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, ending Sven Hannawald’s streak of five straight victories.... Austria’s Felix Gottwald won a Nordic combined sprint, edging Germany’s Ronny Ackermann by 0.4 of a second in a World Cup event at Oberhof, Germany.