Summer Bird OK after surgery


INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- Summer Bird, the nation's leading 3-year-old in 2009, underwent successful surgery to mend a nondisplaced fracture of the cannon bone of his right foreleg on Friday and could return to trainer Tim Ice's winter base in Arkansas as soon as the middle of this week.

The surgery, to install a stabilizing screw, was conducted in a backstretch hospital at Hollywood Park. Summer Bird will remain in California for a few days while his condition is assessed, and could be flown to Oaklawn Park on Wednesday if he has recovered sufficiently, Ice said.

"The surgery went excellent," Ice said on Friday. "We have a good prognosis. We'll look at him Tuesday. If he looks good Tuesday night, he'll fly out on Wednesday morning."

Summer Bird was in Japan training for the Japan Cup Dirt when the injury was detected. He arrived in California last week. Dr. Wayne McIlwraith conducted the surgery.

Ice said that Summer Bird is expected to return to training by the spring.

"He'll spent two weeks in a stall, and we'll get out walking a little bit," Ice said. "Basically, he'll need three or four months of rest. There is no cartilage damage at all. We still have a racehorse."

Ice envisions having Summer Bird ready for a return to racing by the summertime, possibly for the Saratoga meeting.

Owned by Kalarikkal and Vilasini Jayaraman, Summer Bird has won 4 of 9 starts and $2,323,040. His 2009 campaign has been highlighted by major stakes wins in the Belmont Stakes, Travers Stakes, and Jockey Club Gold Cup and a fourth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 7.