06/30/2009 12:00AM

Summer Bird back to track, set to ship out


Belmont Stakes winner Summer Bird returned to the track Tuesday at Louisiana Downs following his easy five-furlong breeze in 1:04.40 last Saturday. Summer Bird is scheduled to ship to Monmouth Park later this week to begin serious preparations for the Grade 1, $1 million Haskell on Aug. 2.

The Saturday workout was Summer Bird's first since his June 6 win in the Belmont.

"He was very happy this morning," said Tim Ice, who trains Summer Bird. "He was playing, very energized."

Ice said Summer Bird was to van out of Louisiana Downs on Wednesday. He will have a stopover at Churchill Downs, then get into Monmouth on Friday. Summer Bird's connections used a similar approach for the Belmont Stakes, vanning him from Louisiana Downs to New York weeks in advance of the race to train over the surface at Belmont.

Summer Bird added blinkers for the race and closed strongly under jockey Kent Desormeaux.

Ice said Tuesday that he is looking forward to the Haskell.

"The horse has always progressed out of every race, so I think he will move forward off of the Belmont," he said. "I think what's going to help him in his races from here on out is having Kent Desormeaux and the addition of blinkers. I really think that we haven't seen the best from him yet. It's hard to say that because he just won the Belmont, but he's still an improving horse and he is getting better."

Summer Bird has won 2 of 5 starts and $723,040. He won his maiden in his two-turn debut this past March at Oaklawn Park, then went on to run third in the Grade 2, $1 million Arkansas Derby and a troubled sixth in the Kentucky Derby before winning the Belmont. He races for his breeders, K.K. and Vilasini Jayaraman.

Stakes next for Cocktail Clarence

Cocktail Clarence, who looked strong winning a first-level allowance for Louisiana-breds last Saturday, could see stakes action next month at Louisiana Downs. His trainer, Ronny Werner, said the horse would be considered for a start in the $100,000 Louisiana Cup Derby for statebreds at 1 1/16 miles Aug. 1.

"I really think this colt is going to stretch out, I always have, so that might be something we do," Werner said Tuesday.

Cocktail Clarence made his debut last July at Churchill Downs and was third in a 4 1/2-furlong race won by Flying Pegasus. One start later, Cocktail Clarence won his maiden at Louisiana Downs and then went on to run second in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile at Fair Grounds.

Cocktail Clarence was making his first start in more than six months last Saturday and set the pace in the six-furlong race before going on to a 2 1/4-length win. Cocktail Clarence earned a career-best 79 Beyer Speed Figure.

Werner said Cocktail Clarence was to head back to Churchill on Tuesday night. Cocktail Clarence is a son of Stormin Fever.

Tough turf sprint closes card

The best race on the card Thursday is the last one. A handful of capable fillies and mares go in the ninth, a $20,000 optional claimer at about five furlongs on turf. Capote Attraction will be making her turf debut after finishing second to the stakes-bound No Other Tone in a $30,000 optional claimer last month at Lone Star Park.

Adding depth to the field is Miss Lewis, a winner of five of her last seven starts for trainer Cord Nix, and Temperamental Miss, who has won her last two for the team of trainer Pamela Simpson and jockey Lonnie Meche. Choice Cat, who has stepped up her game since moving to turf two starts ago, will remove blinkers Thursday.