Summer Bird eyes Gold Cup
Updated: September 2, 2009, 4:58 PM ETBy David Grening | Daily Racing Form
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- Summer Bird came out of his victory in Saturday's $1 million Shadwell Travers Stakes in good order and will most likely remain in New York to run in the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park on Oct 3., trainer Tim Ice said Sunday morning.
The Gold Cup would serve as Summer Bird's final prep before making a bid for the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic over the Pro-Ride surface at Santa Anita on Nov. 7. While Ice didn't rule out running Summer Bird in the Goodwood at Santa Anita on Oct. 10, the Jockey Club Gold Cup is more likely due in large part to the availability of jockey Kent Desormeaux. Ice said Desormeaux is committed to ride Mr. Sidney for trainer Bill Mott in the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland on Oct. 10.
"I wouldn t even ask Kent to choose between him and Mr. Sidney," Ice said. "Him and Bill Mott have a great relationship; he s won all the races for him. I wouldn't want him to lose the mount on that horse, and I don't want him to lose the mount on [Summer Bird]."
Ice said he would likely ship Summer Bird to Belmont early in the week. Summer Bird won the Belmont Stakes on June 6.
"He loves Belmont," Ice said. "Why not take a chance in the Gold Cup, and we'll see how he fares on the Poly once we get him out there and train him."
Summer Bird actually spent last fall in Southern California in the barn of John Sadler, working nine times at Santa Anita in November and December.
Summer Bird's victory in the Travers combined with his win in the Belmont Stakes puts him squarely at the head of the pack of the 3-year-old male division heading into the fall.
Summer Bird earned a career-best 110 Beyer Speed Figure for his Travers, which he won by 3 1/2 lengths in 2:02.83
Travers runner-up Hold Me Back is being targeted for the Breeders' Cup Classic with a possible prep in the Grade 2 $200,000 Kentucky Cup Classic at Turfway Park on Sept. 26. Hold Me Back won the Lane's End Stakes at Turfway in March. The $150,000 Ontario Derby at Woodbine on Sept. 27 is also possible, according to Elliott Walden, racing manager for WinStar Farm.
Quality Road, who was beaten five lengths while finishing third in the Travers after being jostled at the start, also came out of the race fine, according to trainer Todd Pletcher. Quality Road had just one 6 1/2-furlong race between winning the Florida Derby on March 28 and Saturday.
"I thought the horse was well prepared yesterday, I thought he got the mile and a quarter fine, I don t think that had anything to do with him not winning," Pletcher said. "With a different post and with a little better break he could have been a little closer."
Pletcher indicated that the Jockey Club Gold Cup on Oct. 3 or the Goodwood on Oct. 10 were the "two most likely choices" for Quality Road's next start.
Charitable Man finished fourth in the Travers. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin offered no excuses and said simply horse "is probably a notch below those Grade 1 horses."
Kensei, the Jim Dandy winner, faded to sixth after inheriting the lead from a tiring Our Edge at the half-mile pole. Trainer Steve Asmussen said "distance, company, and surface" all combined to work against Kensei.
Warrior's Reward, who loomed to be third at the quarter pole, faded in the stretch and finished fifth beaten 11 lengths.
"He just can t go that far," said trainer Ian Wilkes, who will likely look to run Warrior's Reward in one-turn races.
Our Edge, who was eased after setting the pace while wearing two bar shoes, grabbed two quarters and lost his left front shoe, according to trainer Nick Zito.
- additional reporting by Mike Welsch
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