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Kona Gold with Alex Solis up after winning the Sprint.
Breeders' Cup Sprint

Dateline: 11/04/00

Distaff     Juvenile Fillies     Mile     Sprint     F/M Turf     Juvenile     Turf    Classic     Misc. Photos

The Sprint had a clear favorite in 1.70-1 Kona Gold, and he did not disappoint, extending his winning streak to 4 after wins in the Potrero Grande, Bing Crosby, and Ancient Title Breeders' Cup Handicaps. He lost last year's running by a half length, but this year he was not to be denied. Caller One was also going into the race with a three-race winning streak, and accordingly he was sent off as the 4-1 second choice.

Kona Gold flying for the finish with Honest Lady and Bet on Sunshine in hot pursuit.
Given the times of the previous dirt races on the card, the track had been sped up for the day and this was the race where this was most evident. When the gate opened Caller One immediately surged to the front under 2-time Sprint winner Corey Nakatani, and set the pace three-wide with blistering fractions of 20.82 for the quarter, 43.56 for the half, and the 5 furlong in 55.39, albeit aided by the longer run-up used at Churchill. Kona Gold was away in good order to stalk him four wide, began his rally at the top of the stretch and took the lead away from the now-tiring Caller One inside the final half-furlong, and held off the late charging filly Honest Lady to win by 1/2 a length in a Churchill Downs and Breeders' Cup record time of 1:07.77. Caller One faded to fourth beaten three lengths. 31-1 shot Honest Lady was 10 lengths out of it early on but came out ten wide entering the stretch and finished with a tremendous run for second money. Bet On Sunshine, a 20-1 choice, was bumped at the start and was well back early on but angled to the inside, saved ground around the turn, and finished well for third.

Pgm  Horse              Jockey            Win   Place  Show
10   Kona Gold          Solis            5.40    3.80  3.20
13   Honest Lady        Desormeaux              18.20 10.00
 6   Bet On Sunshine    Borel                         13.80

Winning Time:  1:07.77

$2 Exacta 10-13             138.80
$2 Trifecta 10-13-6       2,076.60
$1 Superfecta 10-13-6-3   5,117.30
Results Chart from Equibase

A jubilant Alex Solis celebrates his first Breeders' Cup win on Kona Gold.

Kona Gold gets a pat on the head from his groom in the winners' circle.

The happy connections at the trophy presentation in the winners' circle.

Kona Gold in the post parade. His jockey Alex Solis was zero for 31 in the Breeders' Cup before the win. "Thank God I got the monkey off my back. It's an overwhelming feeling. It has been aggravating and sad, but like my family always reminds me, you never quit and keep trying until you accomplish your goals. I am so proud of his horse. I've been on him since he was a 2 year old. He's like a son; I've seen him grow up like one of my kids."

Kona Gold coming over to the paddock. His trainer Bruce Headley said: "We have pointed him towards this race since last year. He was third 2 years ago and second last year. The difference is seasoning and Alex Solis rode him to perfection. He galloped this morning and came back bucking and kicking, so I knew then that he could break a track record. We're out west where speed is best!"

Second place finisher Honest Lady in the post parade. Her trainer Bobby Frankel said: "She ran a fantastic race. At the 1/16th pole I thought we were winners. It's too bad she lost, but it took a track record to beat her." Jockey Kent Desormeaux added, "This filly is a diamond. Girls aren't supposed to run against the boys, but she was just unlucky today."

Bet On Sunshine, who repeated his third place finish from 1997, on the way to the paddock. His trainer Paul McGee said: "We gave them hell. Calvin (Borel) rode a big race. He got through at the top of the stretch. We just couldn't run'em down." Borel added, "He ran a sensational race, had a good trip, I can't complain. I called on him at the 1/4 pole and he came running, we just ran out of ground. Three or four more jumps and we would have had him."

Caller One, who set up the record breaking time with his early speed, in the post parade. His jockey Corey Nakatani said: "He broke so hard that he missed a step, then he just picked himself right up and he set those fractions effortlessly, just galloping. I said to myself 'either we're going to win by 10 or this track is just that fast'. Turning for home he bobbled a little bit. His feet were probably stinging him. No disgrace. The horse that beat us is a champion."

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All photos by Cindy Pierson and Terence Dulay. Logo courtesy of Breeders' Cup Limited.

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