Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Summer Bird breezed five furlongs over the main track at Saratoga Aug. 22 with Kent Desormeaux up. The time for the move, seventh best of nine at the distance, was 1:00.91 over a muddy track.
Trainer Tim Ice had planned to send Kalarikkal and Vilasini Jayaraman’s colt to the track after the break at 8:45 a.m., but given heavy rain the previous day he made a last-minute change.
“I wanted to catch a good track,” Ice said. "Even after the renovation, I figured it wouldn’t be as good as it would be at 5:30.
"He worked very well today. (Like last week), I wanted him to do it all on his own, but today I wanted to see how he was galloping out. Kent said that he was trying to pull him up after the work and as the other horses would go by, he’d jump back into the bridle.
"His first work up here (after finishing second in the grade I Haskell Invitational) was so-so, but the second has always been better. He’s progressing well, and his energy level keeps going up. I think the work he had today was better than any he had going into any race, even the Belmont."
Ice said the son of Birdstone would walk for the next two days, return to the track to gallop Aug. 25 and Aug. 26, and have a quarter-mile tuneup Aug. 27 in his final move for the $1 million Shadwell Travers (gr. I) on Aug. 29.
Stakes barn neighbor and Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird took to the track for the second time Aug. 22 since the successful completion of a minor procedure to repair an entrapped epiglottis.
With regular exercise rider George Smith up, Mine That Bird jogged once and galloped once around the main track. Plans remain intact for a workout on Aug. 25.