06/30/2002 11:00PM

Kona in for heavy lifting


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Kona Gold will make history if he wins Saturday's $300,000 Triple Bend Breeders' Cup Handicap as the 126-pound topweight.

In the 50-year history of the sprint at Hollywood Park, no winner has carried more than 124 pounds. There have been four winners at 124 pounds, the most recent of which was Bedside Promise in 1987. Several horses failed to win at higher weights, including Imbros (second in 1954) and Revel (third in 1960) who each carried 128 pounds.

Of course, not every running has included a horse assigned such a highweight, but not every running has included a horse with the talent of Kona Gold, the champion 2000 sprinter.

The 8-year-old Kona Gold has made one start this year, scoring a comfortable win in the Grade 3 Los Angeles Handicap here on June 2, his first victory at Hollywood Park.

Trainer Bruce Headley planned for the seven-furlong Triple Bend a few weeks after that race.

"He bounced out really fast," Headley said. "I had him dead fit and when you have them dead fit a race like that isn't hard."

A winner of 13 of 24 starts and $2,133,864 for Headley and co-owners Andrew and Irwin Molasky, Kona Gold will face a stellar field in the Triple Bend.

The probables include Aldebaran, Disturbingthepiece, D'wildcat, Grey Memo, I Love Silver, and Mellow Fellow.

At 7, Mellow Fellow is the oldest of the challengers who will face Kona Gold.

Headley emphasized that Kona Gold remains in top form.

"I'm not surprised he's happy," Headley said. "I've had 8- and 9-year-old's in the past. Being a sound horse, it's easy to bring him back."

Adoration to skip American Oaks

Adoration, a winner of two stakes at this meeting, is passing Saturday's $500,000 American Oaks, trainer David Hofmans said. "It's too tough for her," he said. "I think she's better on the dirt."

Adoration won the Senorita Stakes on turf on May 4 and the Hollywood Breeders' Cup Oaks on the main track on June 15. Hofmans is considering a late July start for Adoration, but has not finalized plans.

Without Adoration, there are 13 probables for the newly inaugurated American Oaks, which is run over 1 1/4 miles on turf. Racing Secretary Martin Panza said an invitation will be issued this week to bring the field to a maximum of 14, which will include local and national runners as well as fillies from Europe.

The probables are Alozaina, Arabic Song, Cellars Shiraz, Clerical Error, Cyclorama, Distant Valley, Dublino, Maliziosa, Mariensky, Megahertz, Ombre Legere, Riskaverse, and Saranac Lake.

The American Oaks is the richest of seven stakes run at Hollywood Park from Thursday through Sunday.

There are two stakes on Thursday, led by the $150,000 American Handicap over 1 1/8 miles on turf. The race has drawn a field of 10, including Native Desert and the well-regarded Kappa King.

Ladies Din out with inflammation

Ladies Din, the winner of the Grade 1 Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile on May 27, has been taken out of training because of inflammation in an ankle, trainer Julio Canani said.

The 7-year-old Ladies Din will resume training in the fall, Canani said. He was expected to be a contender in the preps for the Breeders' Cup Mile, a race Canani won last year with Val Royal.

"His ankle just gets big," Canani said. "He'll be fine next year. I think he will come back 100 percent.

Ladies Din has won $1,955,504 for Terry Lanni and Bernie Schiappa.

Martinez okay after fall

Jockey Felipe Martinez was not injured Sunday after his mount, Apollo's Missile, clipped heels and fell on the turn of the first race, a six-furlong maiden race.

On the turn, Apollo's Music was racing outside of eventual winner Wicked Susan when Wicked Susan drifted to the outside to move around a filly in front of her. After the fall, Martinez walked into an ambulance on his own for a ride back to the stands. Apollo's Music was vanned off and reported to have suffered a cut on her knee.

The stewards did not alter the order of finish. After the race, Martinez was visibly upset while speaking to the stewards via a trackside telephone and had a minor altercation with Gomez outside the jockey's room. The two are scheduled to meet with track stewards on Wednesday and may possible sanctions.

Jury Box impresses in maiden race

Jury Box turned in the most impressive performance of a 2-year-old at the current meeting with an 11-length win in a maiden race over 5 1/2 furlongs on Sunday.

Ridden by Mike Smith for trainer D. Wayne Lukas, Jury Box led throughout through fractions of 22.13 and 44.82 seconds and pulled away in the final furlong to finish 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.41.

Owned by a partnership, the California-bred Jury Box had previously lost maiden races at Santa Anita, Keeneland and Churchill Downs. Assistant trainer Greg Falk cited maturity for Jury Box's efforts.

The $100,000 Hollywood Juvenile Championship on July 20 may be considered.

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