Summer Bird has arrived at Pauls Mill in Kentucky after being retired last week. The Birdstone colt was pulled out of work after X-rays revealed a small hairline fracture to his right foreleg. The leg was initially injured at Hanshin Racecourse last November when he was preparing for the Japan Cup Dirt.
“There’s no soundness problem,” owner-breeder Dr. Kalarikkal Jayaraman said. “He was supposed to start breezing last week, but we had consultations with some veterinarians, and they all suggested it’s safer to retire him.”
Summer Bird was trained by Tim Ice and captured last year’s Belmont Stakes (G1), Travers Stakes (G1) and Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1). He was also runner-up to eventual Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra in the Haskell Invitational (G1) and was fourth to Zenyatta in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) in what turned out to be his final start. He retired with a scorecard standing at 9: 4-1-1 with over $2.32 million in prizemoney.
“You’d have to look long and hard to find a classic winner whose first three sires are classic winners and whose first three dams are by classic winners,” Pauls Mill owner Ben Walden Jr said. “Summer Bird is an unqualified talent with an outstanding physique.”
Summer Bird (4c Birdstone – Hong Kong Squall by Summer Squall) is from the family of Group 1 sires Rubiano and Tapit. Both Birdstone and Tapit stand at Gainesway in Lexington.
His Pauls Mill fee for 2011 will be determined later. Among his associates at the Kentucky Stud are Independent Stallions shuttlers Artie Schiller and U S Ranger.