06/26/2009 11:00PM

Summer Bird has first work since Belmont


Summer Bird breezed an easy five furlongs at Louisiana Downs on Saturday in his first workout since his Belmont Stakes triumph on June 6. He is being pointed for the Grade 1, $1 million Haskell Invitational on Aug. 2, and is scheduled to ship to Monmouth Park the middle of next week, his trainer, Tim Ice, said on Saturday.

Summer Bird worked at 6 a.m. under jockey Carlos Gonzalez. He covered the distance on a track rated fast in 1:04.42. Ice caught him through fractions of 13.67 seconds for the opening eighth of a mile, 27.02 for the first quarter, 40.11 for three furlongs, 52.71 for the half-mile, and galloping out six furlongs in 1:17.

"He worked just like I wanted him to, nice and easy," Ice said. "It was just a light maintenance work. We let him stretch his legs a little and let him finish. I was very happy with how he worked.

"It will all move forward from here."

Ice is following a similar protocol for the Haskell as he did for the Belmont Stakes, when he shipped Summer Bird from his Louisiana Downs base to Belmont Park several weeks in advance of the race in order to train over the surface. The schedule worked well for the horse, who closed fast for a 2 3/4-length win over Dunkirk and Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird.

Summer Bird returned to his Louisiana Downs base a few days after the Belmont Stakes. Ice had planned to work him June 20, but decided to adjust the schedule in order to give the horse a little more time to regroup from the 1 1/2-mile race. He said Summer Bird has done well in the near month since his win in New York.

"He came out of the Belmont super," Ice said. "We backed off on him a little bit because we could afford to do that as much time as there is in between the two races. The main thing is to keep him fresh and have him prepared for the Haskell. As of now, things are going super."

Kent Desormeaux, who rode Summer Bird in the Belmont, has the mount in the Haskell. The horse races for K.K. and Vilasini Jayaraman. Earlier this year, Summer Bird was a troubled sixth in the Kentucky Derby and a closing third in the Arkansas Derby.