Tim Ice, trainer of Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Summer Bird, will shift his stable from Louisiana to New York following the end of the Oaklawn Park meet next spring, he said Nov. 2.
The 35-year-old horseman, who currently maintains a string of about 35 horses based at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, has caught the attention of owners on the national scene with his campaign of the 3-year-old Birdstone homebred for Drs. Kalarikkal K. and Vilasini D. Jayaraman.
“I’ll go from Oaklawn to Belmont,” Ice said. “I don’t want to run a split stable; I’m enjoying this experience with Summer Bird but it’s killing me not to be back at home with the horses. I like to be around everybody all the time, go through the barns, check all of the horses.”
Among the new owners placing horses with Ice is Marylou Whitney, breeder of Birdstone . Whitney gave Ice two runners in October—an unraced Birdstone colt named Quickstone and Golden Birdie, a Touch Gold filly who has yet to break her maiden in three starts. Both are 2-year-olds formerly in training with Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas.
The trainer said he planned to start both at Oaklawn.
Whitney’s husband, John Hendrickson, said Ice attracted the couple’s attention after they paid a visit to Summer Bird at Saratoga when he was training toward a victory in the Travers Stakes (gr. I) this summer en route to a win in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I).
“We got to know him over the summer,” Hendrickson said. “We went out to visit Summer Bird about three or four times and we were very impressed with his disposition, the way he talks to the media, the way he’s so hands-on with his horses. We think he’s a gentleman trainer with a bright future, and we wanted to give him support.
“It’s nothing against D. Wayne—he has all of our other horses—but I think he gives respect to the horse, and it’s really about Marylou wanting to support a young man for whom we’ve developed a lot of respect.”
As Ice preps Summer Bird for a start in the Nov. 7 Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I), the rest of his horses are being supervised by assistant Casey Clark.