(from Monmouth Park)
Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Summer Bird will not breeze this weekend as originally planned in preparation for the $1 million Haskell Invitational (gr. I) on Aug. 2, according to trainer Tim Ice.
“I thought I’d give him another week off before we start breezing him,” the trainer said from Louisiana Downs June 18. “He’ll have one breeze here before we ship to Monmouth.”
He said that Summer Bird will ship to Monmouth from Louisiana Downs the first week of July either by air or by van.
“We’re undecided about that right now,” Ice said. “We shipped him by van from Louisiana to Belmont and we won, so I’m inclined to be a little superstitious. He handled the trip to New York much better than I expected, so we’ll see.”
Ice said he wants to bring Summer Bird to Monmouth early enough to breeze three times over the track. The trainer said he will stay with the horse for the entire time.
The first-year trainer followed a similar script for the Belmont, shipping into New York three weeks before the race and giving Summer Bird two works over the Belmont surface.
Summer Bird, a son of Birdstone who was bred by his owners, the Drs. K.K. and V. Devi Jayaraman, finished sixth in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), which was just his fourth lifetime start.
“He was a little drawn up after we shipped to Churchill Downs,” Ice said. “And I thought he ran a really good race in the Derby.
“But then he really blossomed after the Derby. He put on 150 pounds, and he handled the trip to New York just great.
“We put blinkers on him for the Belmont to get him focused, and he was a lot closer to the pace with blinkers on, which should help him at Monmouth. And we used Kent Desormeaux in the Belmont, which worked out great.
"Kent got Summer Bird to relax early, but still be up near the pace. Then when he was boxed in along the rail on the turn, he found the opening to get to the outside in the stretch.”