Thursday, June 11, 2009

Haskell next for Belmont winner Summer Bird

Daily Racing Form

Belmont Stakes winner Summer Bird has returned to his Louisiana Downs base and is being prepared for a start in the Grade 1, $1 million Haskell at Monmouth Park on Aug. 2, said his trainer, Tim Ice. The other summer goal for the horse is the Grade 1, $1 million Travers at Saratoga on Aug. 29.

Summer Bird was flown from New York to Kentucky on Monday morning, then vanned from Kentucky to Louisiana Downs the same day, getting into Bossier City, La., around 10 p.m. He walked the shed row on Tuesday and Wednesday, and is scheduled to go back to the track on Thursday.

He looks great, said Ice, who arrived back in Louisiana on Tuesday morning after driving in from New York. The shipping and the race took nothing out of him. He s carrying his weight real good."

Ice did not rule out a start in the Grade 2, $750,000 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 19 for Summer Bird, but said he would first have to assess how the horse does following the Haskell and Travers.

The Super Derby is three weeks after the Travers, Ice said. We need to see how he comes out of those races.

Ice said he liked the six weeks from the Super Derby to the Breeders Cup, which is the season-ending goal for Summer Bird.

Plans are to train Summer Bird at Louisiana Downs until the early part of July, at which time he would ship to Monmouth, said Ice. He will stay on the East Coast through the Travers.

Summer Bird races for K.K. and Vilasini Jayaraman. He left Louisiana Downs in mid-May to train at Belmont up to the Belmont Stakes. The win was the biggest career score for Ice, who began training on his own last June at Louisiana Downs. Ice, who turned 35 on Belmont Stakes Day, has been going full tilt since leaving Louisiana Downs.

I m a lot better than you d think, Ice said Wednesday. I m still riding the high of winning the Belmont. Once I come back to earth, I will probably be knocked out. I m just taking everything in, and enjoying what the horse has accomplished. It s just an exciting time.

Ice said Kent Desormeaux, who rode Summer Bird in the Belmont, is lined up to ride the horse in the Haskell and Travers.

© 2009 Daily Racing Form

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