Hot Springs, AR (Sports Network) - Belmont and Travers Stakes winner Summer Bird is recuperating from surgery at Oaklawn Park. The three-year-old colt arrived earlier this week in order to mend following leg surgery.
Expected to be named 2009 champion three-year-old, Summer Bird suffered an injury while training in Japan for the Japan Cup Dirt. X-rays showed that the son of Birdstone had a fractured bone in his right foreleg.
Trained by Tim Ice, Summer Bird had the procedure done at Hollywood Park's backstretch hospital. The prognosis is excellent for a full recovery and return to the races.
"If we had been told he's only to be around 80 percent of his former self," noted Ice, "then we'd have probably thought about retiring him. But the prognosis is that he'll come back 100 percent. So the (owners) Jayaramans are excited about bringing him back in 2010."
Along with victories in the Belmont and Travers, Summer Bird won the Jockey Club Gold Cup against older horses and finished fourth behind Zenyatta in the Breeders' Cup Classic. This year he won four of nine starts for $2,323,040.
"The plan is to give him three months off, then begin his training," added Ice. "My assistant, Casey Clark, did a great job of watching the rest of the stable while I traveled with Summer Bird. Now I have to reacquaint myself with the rest of these horses while we wait for the complete healing of Summer Bird. It's way too soon for us to map out a schedule for him, but we're sure excited to have him back here and in good spirits. I'm sure when he comes out of that stall on Monday morning, he'll be pretty excited."