Top four come out of Belmont ok

Updated: June 7, 2009, 9:05 PM ET
By Jay Privman | Daily Racing Form



ELMONT, N.Y. -- The first four finishers from Saturday's 141st Belmont Stakes all came out of the race well, all will get a bit of a breather before returning later this summer, and all will be pointed to major 3-year-old races, their respective trainers said Sunday morning at Belmont Park.

Summer Bird, who scored the upset victory in the Belmont, and Mine That Bird, who finished third as the favorite, both will be flown from New York to Kentucky on Monday morning. Summer Bird will then take a van ride to Louisiana Downs, while Mine That Bird will, at least for a week, remain at Churchill Downs.

Dunkirk, who finished second, and Charitable Man, who was fourth, both are based at Belmont Park and will remain here until resuming their campaigns in a couple of months.

Tim Ice, the trainer of Summer Bird, said training at Belmont Park for three weeks, having five weeks between starts, the addition of blinkers, and a heady ride from Kent Desormeaux were the ingredients in a winning recipe.

"The colt put a lot of confidence in me," Ice said Sunday morning. "The last two weeks, he gave me nothing but confidence. The whole thought was to get here early to give us our best shot."

Ice said specific plans for Summer Bird had yet to be finalized, but his season-ending objective is to get to the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting, though he wasn't sure if Summer Bird would be best suited by the 1 1/4 miles of the Classic, which is on a synthetic surface, or the 1 1/2 miles of the Turf. Summer Bird has not raced on a synthetic surface, nor turf.

"The main thing is to have a fresh horse," Ice said. "He was a lot better horse with five weeks between races."

Dunkirk was "tired" Sunday morning, trainer Todd Pletcher said.

"He gave us everything he had," Pletcher said.

Pletcher said "the Travers is our main goal this summer. The question is how we go about getting there. Most likely he'll come back in the Jim Dandy, but we'll play it by ear."

The Jim Dandy is at Saratoga on Aug. 1. The Travers is at Saratoga on Aug. 29.

Mine That Bird was in better shape Sunday morning than his trainer, Chip Woolley, who said he was worn out from the Triple Crown grind.

"I made it anyway," said Woolley, who has to get around on crutches after badly fracturing his right leg in a motorcycle accident. "It's pretty tough on people. It's a little easier if you've got two good legs. It hit me like a bomb last night. I can roll right along. But it sure showed up last night."

As for Mine That Bird, who won the Kentucky Derby and was second in the Preakness, Woolley said he was "bright and bouncing" Sunday morning.

"He looks like he made it through this in good shape," Woolley said.

Woolley said Mine That Bird would remain at Churchill Downs through Saturday, when Mine That Bird's connections are presented with their Derby trophies on Stephen Foster Day. After that, a decision will be made on where Mine That Bird prepares for his next start. Woolley is based at Sunland Park in New Mexico.

Woolley said Mine That Bird would be pointed for the Breeders' Cup Classic, with ideally two starts before then, "on dirt and against straight 3-year-olds," he said.

Mine That Bird moved earlier in the Belmont than he did in the Derby and Preakness, which Woolley said may have been due to Mine That Bird being uncharacteristically unsettled during the day. Though he had seemingly taken all his travel and racing in stride, on Saturday Mine That Bird was animated when leaving Woolley's barn for the security barn, and then, hours later, when walking over from the security barn to the paddock.

"It might have been having those three races back to back," Woolley said. "It's been fun, though. The horse showed up every time. I'm happy. It's been a good time. Now I'm ready for some rest."

Charitable Man had "a couple of little nicks," trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said, but otherwise was fine. Charitable Man had to check inside the furlong pole. The stewards conducted an inquiry into the stretch run, but no change was made.

"He ran well," McLaughlin said. "The last furlong he got squeezed, and it cost us some ground, but I don't disagree with the call. He was kind of empty after a mile and three-eighths."

McLaughlin said Charitable Man would come back in either the Haskell, on Aug. 2 at Monmouth, or the Jim Dandy, then go for the Travers.

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