Shining like a new copper penny, champion Summer Bird arrived at Pauls Mill at the south end of Woodford County June 10. He hammed it up for a small crowd then officially moved into the farm's fourth and last empty stall in the stud barn. On hand were Drs. K.K. and Devi Jayaraman, who bred and campaigned the colt and are retaining a 30% interest in as a stallion.
“He’s here because Ben really likes this horse, and we like his ideas of how he’s going to be managed,” said Devi Jayaraman, referring to Pauls Mill owner Ben P. Walden Jr.
Summer Bird is a son of Birdstone —Hong Kong Squall, by Summer Squall. He won stakes on fast and sloppy tracks and became the first horse since Easy Goer in 1989 to win the Belmont, Travers, and Jockey Club Gold Cup (all grade I) in the same year. For his accomplishments, he was voted the 2009 Eclipse Award as the nation’s leading male 3-year-old.
“This was a horse that anyone was going to want and, honestly, I didn’t give us a great chance,” Walden said. “But Dr. (K.K.) Jayaraman used to breed with me when I was at Vinery and they were getting started. He appreciated they way we interacted. So I was grateful when he called me and said, ‘What do you want to do?’”
A dozen phone calls later the deal was done.
Walden said several of his best mares that were bred to Dynaformer this year will be good fits with Summer Bird in 2011.
“When you can get excited about breeding mares to this horse, then you can sure get excited about standing him,” he said.
Sent to Japan for the Japan Cup Dirt (Jpn-I), Summer Bird sustained a hairline fracture of the lower end of his right front cannon bone. Surgery was performed to stabilize the bone.