by Kelsey Riley
Summer Bird, last year’s champion 3-year-old male, is one of 25 horses being transferred from trainer Tim Ice by Drs. K.K. Jayaraman and Vilasini Jayaraman. Ice currently is based at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas.
“The communication between me and Ice is not very good, and it has come to the point that we move the horses from him,” K.K. Jayaraman said Feb. 9.
Jayaraman said Summer Bird, a son of Birdstone —Hong Kong Squall, by Summer Squall, would be moved to trainer Tim Ritchey, who is at Oaklawn but in the spring will return to his base in the Mid-Atlantic region.
"It's a great opportunity and hopefully I can be as successful with him as Tim Ice was," Ritchey said Feb. 9. Summer Bird will arrive in Ritchey's barn later today.
Summer Bird won last year’s Belmont Stakes, Travers Stakes, and Jockey Club Gold Cup (all gr. I) en route to an Eclipse Award, becoming the first horse since Easy Goer in 1989 to win those three races in a single year. After finishing fourth behind Zenyatta in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park, Summer Bird was injured while training for the Japan Cup Dirt (Jpn-I). His prognosis remains good.
Ice, who went out on his own in the spring of 2008 after assisting various trainers for 15 years, said Feb. 9 he is “looking to rebuild.” He is left with six horses for other owners.
“It’s one of those things where the horses weren’t running well, and he thought it was time that he did something different,” Ice said of Jayaraman.
Ice has trained one other stakes winner in addition to Summer Bird, the Jayaraman-owned Affirmed Truth.
The Jayaramans, both retired physicians, keep about 20 broodmares at their Tiffany Farm in Ocala, Fla. In addition to Summer Bird, they have bred grade I winner Dearest Trickski and grade II winners Royal Spy and Sweet and Ready.