01/28/2010 1:00AM

Q&A: Tim Ice

Barbara D. Livingston

Trainer of Summer Bird, who won the Belmont, Travers, and Jockey Club Gold Cup in 2009 and was named the champion 3-year-old colt at last week s Eclipse Awards.

Nicknames: "Iceman," "Big T."

Birthdate: June 6, 1974, in East Liverpool, Ohio.

Family: son, Carson James Ice.

Got into racing because. . .: "My stepfather, Frank Rapp, trained racehorses, so from the age of 13 I started getting into the horses and enjoying it. He trained a lot of John Franks's second-string horses in Louisiana."

How gratifying was it to have Summer Bird named champion 3-year-old? "It was very gratifying, not only for me, but for his owners. The Jayaramans have been in the sport for 25 years. I was glad they had a horse of this caliber."

How did you meet the Jayaramans? "I met them through Cole Norman. They had horses with Cole. I worked for Cole before I worked for Morris Nicks, who was the last person I worked for before going on my own."

Did you ever imagine Summer Bird taking you so many places last year? I couldn't have thought I'd be traveling to Belmont and Saratoga and out to California, certainly not early in the year. After the Derby we thought we'd be able to travel somewhere, but not as many places as he's taken us. I couldn't have imagined we'd go so many places in such a short amount of time."

How is he progressing toward his 2010 debut? "Dr. Wayne McIlwraith, who did the surgery on him after he got back from Japan, looked at the X-rays recently. We gave him a copy of the X-rays at the Eclipse Awards dinner. He said everything looks great to him. We'll take another set of X-rays around March 1, and if all looks well he should go back into training not long after that here at Oaklawn."

When would he be able to race? "I'm thinking the middle of June or July, in New York at Belmont Park. I'm going to be based at Belmont after Oaklawn Park ends."

Greatest career moment: "I think the greatest moment would be accepting the Eclipse Award for Summer Bird. That doesn't single out one race. It singles out the year he had. As far as one race, obviously the Belmont meant a lot because it's a classic, but the Travers and Jockey Club Gold Cup were special moments, too. I guess because the Belmont was a classic, that would have to be the top. And it was my first Grade 1 win. And it was my birthday."

How many horses did you train one year ago at this time, and how many now? "I am up to 35 now. Last year I had 15, so it's doubled. Summer Bird helped, Dr. J. (K.K. Jayaraman) had a lot of 2-year-olds, and I've picked up a few new owners. Summer Bird has definitely helped my career a lot."

Best horse you've seen: "I've seen Zenyatta, Rachel Alexandra, and Curlin, and I was at Hollywood Park when Skip Away won the Breeders' Cup Classic. Skip Away was so dominant in that Classic. Zenyatta's performance in the Breeders' Cup was amazing. Curlin, I thought he was something special."

Best horse trained: "Summer Bird."

Childhood dream: "Once I was in high school, I just wanted to have my own string of horses. I'm doing what I wanted to do growing up."

Childhood heroes: "Everybody I looked up to was a football player, like Terry Bradshaw. I've always been a Pittsburgh Steelers fan."

First job: "Working for my stepfather. Then I groomed horses for Bill Stice for about a year. Then I went to work for Keith Desormeaux as his assistant. I took out my assistant's license when I was 19. I was in California with him from 1995-99. That's why I was out there for Skip Away's Breeders' Cup. I worked for Cole Norman, and then for Morris Nicks before I went on my own in May 2008."

Favorite food: "Chicken alfredo. I'm an Italian food fan."

Favorite ice-cream flavor: "Butter pecan."

Favorite movie of all time: "Anything of Adam Sandler. I like comedies."

Last movie seen: "'Inglourious Basterds.' I even went and bought the movie after I saw it in the theater."

Favorite TV show: "'Sportscenter' on ESPN. That's all I watch. I'm not a big TV person except for 'Sportscenter.'"

Favorite music: "I like country music, but I don't have a favorite musician."

Favorite thing to do outside racing: "I guess watching sports. When I was up in New Jersey with Summer Bird, I enjoyed playing volleyball on Mondays and Tuesdays."

Favorite athlete outside racing: "This will be a big surprise - Ben Roethlisberger."

Last vacation taken was to. . .: "The Eclipse Awards. I haven't taken a real vacation in forever. But with all the travel with Summer Bird, I've been on vacation all year."

Closest racing friends: "Morris Nicks for sure. We still talk every week. I've stayed pretty good friends with David Fawkes. We met last year at Monmouth and Saratoga."

Person most admired: "Morris Nicks because of how hard he works. He's very hands on. He really taught me a lot the two years I worked for him."

Ambitions: "I'd like to keep maintaining a winning stable. It doesn't have to be on the Summer Bird scale. I just want to be able to sustain a good year of racing every year I'm in it."