Sunday, August 30, 2009

News > Summer Bird Takes Flight in Travers Victory

Summer Bird Takes Flight in Travers Victory
Summer Bird comes home strong in the Travers Stakes.

He’s not the “other” Bird anymore.

Summer Bird continued his meteoric rise to the top of the nation’s 3-year-old ranks, as he rolled through the slop for an easy 3 1/2-length score in the $1-million Shadwell Travers (gr. I) (VIDEO) Aug. 29 at Saratoga.
Having made his racing debut less than five months ago, Summer Bird has won two of the most important races for 3-year-olds, first pulling an 11-1 upset over Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) victor Mine That Bird in the June 6 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) and now a convincing victory in the “Mid-Summer Derby.” The chestnut colt duplicated the feat accomplished by his sire, Birdstone , who won both of those races back in 2004.
Owned by Drs. Kalarikkal and Vilasini Jayaraman, and trained by Tim Ice, Summer Bird has gone over $1.5 million in earnings during his improbable ascent toward Thoroughbred racing’s elite.
"They can call him the other Bird if they want, but he's won the Belmont and the Travers. Take it from there," said Ice, who credited jockey Kent Desormeaux and the addition of blinkers as reasons for Summer Bird’s rapid improvement. “It was just a matter of getting the right trip and the way he handled the track.
“Winning this race means as much as winning the Belmont. I can’t say that I feel better about either one. For my colt to win the Belmont and come back and win the Travers, like his sire, Birdstone, and be the 30th horse to come out of the Belmont and win the Travers, means a lot.”
With Desormeaux in the irons, Summer Bird raced close to the pace the early stages of the 1 1/4-mile Travers, unlike his Belmont triumph when he came from well back. He was never far off the lead this time, as expected pacesetter Our Edge took the field through an opening quarter in :23.19 and a half-mile in :46.88 with Alan Garcia aboard.

The winner, sent off as the 5-2 second choice, paid $7.80, $4.30, and $2.70. The exacta (6-1) with 17-1 Hold Me Back paid $115.50. The trifecta (6-1-4) was $343.50.