Summer Bird

Summer Bird

Courtesy of Louise Reinagel

Belmont Winner Summer Bird Dies in Japan

Seven-year-old son of Birdstone died Dec. 23 as a result of colic.

The Japan Bloodhorse Breeders' Association has confirmed that 2009 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Summer Bird died Dec. 23 in Japan due to colic.

According to the JBBA, the 7-year-old son of Birdstone  developed colic Dec. 22 and efforts to save him were unsuccessful.

Campaigned by his breeders, Drs. K.K. and Vilasini Jayaraman, Summer Bird also won the Shadwell Travers Stakes and Jockey Club Gold Cup, both grade I, during his 3-year-old campaign, but sustained a hairline fracture of the lower end of his right front cannon bone while training for that year's Japan Cup (Jpn-I). Efforts to bring the horse back to competition following the injury were unsuccessful and he was retired with a record of four victories from nine starts, with one second and one third, for earnings of $2,323,040.

Summer Bird entered stud in 2011 at Pauls Mill farm near Versailles, Ky., and then moved to WinStar Farm, also near Versailles, for 2012.

The stallion was purchased in late 2012 by the JBBA to stand at the organization's farm on the island of Hokkaido, with WinStar retaining the right to repurchase Summer Bird and return him to the U.S. at the conclusion of his breeding career.

The first foals sired by Summer Bird, who stood one season in Japan before his death, are yearlings of 2013. At auction, he was represented this year by 44 yearlings which averaged $34,545.