06/03/2002 12:00AM

Headley: Kona Gold's win 'extra special


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Kona Gold was on his way to the barn area shortly after Sunday's Los Angeles Handicap at Hollywood Park when his trainer, Bruce Headley, grabbed the lapels of the sportcoat he was wearing and gave them a vigorous shake.

"I'm sweating," he said.

The race was over and the pressure was off, but Headley was still feeling the buzz of excitement over Kona Gold's 10th career stakes win.

The Los Angeles Handicap was Kona Gold's first start since November, when he ran fourth in the DeFrancis Memorial Dash at Laurel. That loss came at the end of a year in which Kona Gold failed to successfully defend his title as the nation's champion sprinter of 2000.

After that race, Kona Gold went on vacation on a half-acre of property at Headley's home in Arcadia, Calif. Headley and owners Andrew and Irwin Molasky were not sure how Kona Gold, now 8, would respond to the return to racing.

"This was extra special, not knowing if he'd give up and finding out that the rest did him a world of good," Headley said. "He had tailed off last year; he had had enough racing. Freshening him did do him good. We had to prove something today."

In the last two years, Kona Gold made six starts per year. This year it is likely he will make only four or five starts. Headley is considering the $300,000 Triple Bend Breeders' Cup Handicap here on July 6, but is more likely to wait for the $200,000 Bing Crosby Breeders' Cup Handicap at Del Mar on July 27, a race Kona Gold won last year.

Long term, there is little doubt where Headley wants to race Kona Gold - at Arlington Park on Oct. 26 in the Breeders' Cup Sprint, a race that Kona Gold won at Churchill Downs in 2000.

"He's on his way to a fifth Breeders' Cup," Headley said. "It's a big deal to win the Breeders' Cup a couple of times."

Siphonic returns to Hofmans

Siphonic, the winner of two major stakes for 2-year-olds last year, has returned to trainer David Hofmans following a two-month break for an ankle injury.

Siphonic was based at owner John and Jerry Amerman's Peacefield Farm in Temecula, Calif., during the break. In late March, Siphonic was turned out after a nuclear scan revealed "wear and tear" to his right front ankle, Hofmans said.

He hopes Siphonic will return in the fall. "That's the plan," he said. "He looks great. He's been sitting in a paddock and eating grass."

Siphonic was among California's leading 3-year-olds at the start of the year, but failed to win either of his two starts at Santa Anita. He finished second in the Santa Catalina Stakes to Labamta Babe and third to Medaglia d'Oro in the San Felipe Stakes. In his six-race career, Siphonic has won three races and $766,978.

A mile is it for Doc Holiday

Doc Holiday, the winner of the Will Rogers Stakes on Saturday, will not enter the $200,000 Cinema Breeders' Cup Handicap on June 30, trainer Wally Dollase said.

Dollase wants to keep Doc Holiday in one-mile turf races, and avoid the Cinema distance of 1 1/8 miles. In the Will Rogers, Doc Holiday finished a neck in front of Johar after a long stretch duel.

"I think a mile and an eighth is a little too far for him," Dollase said. "He would have been beaten if they had gone much farther on Saturday."

The Grade 3 Will Rogers was Doc Holiday's first stakes win since arriving here from Europe this winter. In October, Dollase paid $205,000 for Doc Holiday at a sale in England. The horse was later sold to members of the Horizon Stable, which Dollase organizes.

Because many of the major stakes for 3-year-olds on turf here are run over 1 1/8 miles, Doc Holiday's opportunities are limited. Dollase said he might ship Doc Holiday out of town.

"He's a tough little horse," he said. "He tries to give all that he has."

Jockey updates

While Victor Espinoza, second in the jockeys' standings here, tries to win the Triple Crown on War Emblem in Saturday's Belmont Stakes in New York, leading rider Pat Valenzuela likely will have an active book of rides at Hollywood Park.

Through Sunday, Valenzuela led all riders with 35 wins. Espinoza was tied for second with Laffit Pincay Jr. at 27 wins. Espinoza will be joined in New York this weekend by Eddie Delahoussaye, Kent Desormeaux, Mike Smith, Alex Solis, and Gary Stevens. Delahoussaye, Smith, and Stevens are not among the top 10 riders at Hollywood Park.

With Delahoussaye traveling on Friday, Garrett Gomez will ride Go Go in Friday's $100,000 Desert Stormer Handicap, a six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares. Go Go is the defending champion in the Desert Stormer.

The other probables for the race are Kalookan Queen, Slewsbox, and Rolly Polly.

Trainer nurses Super High along

A front-running victory by Super High in Friday's $100,000 California Sires Stakes apparently impressed trainer Carla Gaines only mildly. She is taking a cautious approach to the filly's career, following her one-length win as a heavy favorite in the one-mile turf race.

"It shows she can run on turf or dirt," Gaines said. "You have to consider the race."

Owned by breeder John Harris, Super High has won 3 of 7 starts and $199,688. Before Friday, she had placed in three stakes for statebreds, including the $200,000 Melair Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on the main track on April 28.

Gaines has yet to start her in a graded stakes.

* Captain Squire, the upset winner of the Grade 3 Laz Barrera Stakes on May 27, is being pointed for the $250,000 Carry Back Stakes at six furlongs at Calder on July 13, trainer Jeff Mullins said. He wants to keep Captain Squire in sprints. The Laz Barrera was the first graded stakes win for jockey Chance Rollins, who has ridden for most of his career in Arizona and California.

* The top race of the weekend here is Saturday's $200,000 Honeymoon Breeders' Cup Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on turf. Megahertz, the winner of the Providencia Stakes at Santa Anita in April, and Arabic Song, the winner of two allowance races this year, head a a field that also is expected to include La Martina, High Society, Alozaina, and Florida shipper Always Country.