Monmouth Park Barn Notes - Friday, July 3

Jul 3, 2009 - 5:29 PM


Belmont Stakes winner Summer Bird rolled into the Monmouth Park stable area at 5:30 Friday morning and settled into his stall in Barn 3 as he prepares for his next start, the $1 million Haskell Invitational (G1) on Sunday, Aug. 2. Trainer Tim Ice, looking sleepy after the long road trip from Louisiana Downs that included a stopover at Churchill Downs, said the Birdstone colt had handled the trip well. "Better than I did," Ice said with a grin. "I'm tired, but he got off the van full of himself at Churchill, and he was full of himself when we got here. He shipped great. I just want to take a nap." Summer Bird and his trainer left Louisiana at 9 p.m. Wednesday night and arrived in Louisville at 9:30 a.m. Thursday morning. They pulled out of Kentucky at 5 p.m. Thursday evening, and arrived at Monmouth at 5:30 Friday morning. This was the second long road trip for Summer Bird, who made a similar van trip from Louisiana to New York when he came in early to prepare for the Belmont Stakes, a race he won by nearly three lengths over Dunkirk. Ice said that Summer Bird will get a feel for the Monmouth track on Saturday. "He'll be out on the track to train on Saturday and Sunday," the trainer said, "and if everything's okay with him, he'll work on Monday. He's due for a work. "After that, I'll get him on a Sunday work rotation. I like to work him a week before a race, and the Haskell is on a Sunday, so that will be his work day after this week." Summer Bird had his first work since the June 6 Belmont at Louisiana Downs last Saturday, breezing five furlongs in a leisurely 1:04.20 Ice also brought a 4-year-old named Independence War to run in allowance races here, and says he is bringing in a pair of 2-year-olds to keep him busy in the time preceding the Haskell. Another Haskell candidate, Papa Clem, also came in early, but the colt will run in next Saturday's $175,000 Long Branch Stakes, Monmouth's major prep for the Haskell. The race is also expected to draw Atomic Rain. Summer Bird, bred by his owners, the Drs. K.K. and V. Devi Jayaraman, has packed a lot of excitement into six months of racing. The colt out of the Summer Squall mare Hong Kong Squall debuted at Oaklawn Park on March 1, and ran fourth. He broke his maiden on March 19, and then ran a strong third in the April 11 Arkansas Derby (won by Papa Clem) and was sent to Churchill Downs where he finished sixth behind Mine That Bird in the Kentucky Derby. Ice, based at Louisiana Downs near Shreveport, La., brought the colt home for two weeks and then shipped him to Belmont three weeks before the final Triple Crown event. With Kent Desormeaux replacing Chris Rosier in the saddle, Summer Bird won convincingly in the Belmont Stakes. Desormeaux will try to make it two Haskell victories in a row this year, after winning the race last year aboard Big Brown. Summer Bird is bedded down in Barn 3 with the horses trained by John Mazza, who has had stalls in that barn for the past 42 years, and has hosted a number of famous runners. Mazza's guests have included champions Spectacular Bid, winner of the 1980 Iselin Handicap, and Miesque's Approval, winner of the 2006 Red Bank Stakes, and Coronado's Quest, winner of the 1998 Haskell.


Saturday's $750,000 United Nations Stakes (G1) drew some of the best turf horses in training, and Roger Attfield will be trying to pull off a major double play when he saddles Spice Route in the mile and three-eighths test. Attfield had both Spice Route and Musketier entered in the Singspiel Stakes at Woodbine two weeks ago. The two horses had run one-two in the Elkhorn (G2) at Keeneland in April, and this time the trainer elected to split them up. He scratched Spice Route to hold him out for the U.N., and sent Musketier out to win on the Woodbine turf. Now he's got Spice Route looking to complete a double in the U.N., and Musketier will go next in the Grade 1 Man o' War at Belmont next week. Spice Route, a 5-year-old son of King's Best, is well-traveled. The gelding started his career in England, was brought to North America last May, and has since raced at six different tracks in Canada and the U.S., winning the Tropical Turf Handicap and the Elkhorn. "He's a very consistent horse," Attfield said. "He always runs his race. I think he's ready for this. He had a nice breeze Wednesday (a half in :48.80) on the Poly at Woodbine. Normally he works only on turf, but we've had so much rain, we've been off the turf more than we've been on. I wanted to breeze him, and the only alternative was the Polytrack." Spice Route has met Presious Passion, last year's U.N. winner who is seeking a repeat, just once this year. In the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida Stakes at Gulfstream on Feb. 21, Presious Passion scored a front-running victory. Spice Route, meanwhile, was far back early and then had to overcome trouble just to get up for third. "He was miles out of it that day for whatever reason," Attfield said. "He's usually not that far out of it, depending on the pace. But that day he was far back, and then when he did start to run he got stopped on the turn. I thought he ran a good race to get third."

No one has shouted yet.
Be the first!