Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) (VIDEO) winner Summer Bird was his usual self Oct. 4 a day after his latest major triumph, alternately snoozing and peering alertly out his stall door, depending on when you caught him.
“He was bouncing and playing this morning, and he ate up everything last night,” said trainer Tim Ice after the 3-year-old became the first horse since Easy Goer in 1989 to win the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), Travers (gr. I), and Jockey Club Gold Cup in the same year. “He’s feeling better than me; that rain just killed me yesterday afternoon and now I’ve got a cold. I couldn’t be happier with the way he looks this morning though.”
Ice said again that he would nominate Kalarikkal and Vilasini Jayaraman’s colt to the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I), as well as the $3 million Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. I), both at Santa Anita Park on Nov. 7. He was confident about Summer Bird’s ability to handle either surface, but said the Classic was the more likely choice.
“He’s already trained four months (over the Santa Anita Pro-Ride) and he has solid works over it,” Ice said. “I think we could put him on anything and he’d run. We’ll probably be in against a bunch of turf horses in the Classic anyway.”
Summer Bird is scheduled to return to the track at Belmont Park on either Oct. 7 or 8 and Ice said he planned to ship to California on Oct. 12.
“I think he showed the fight that he had yesterday,” Ice said of the Birdstone colt’s performance in the Gold Cup, which he won by a length over Quality Road. “But, I always say, I hope his next race is his best race.”