11/29/2009 1:00AM

Summer Bird hurt; out of Japan Cup Dirt

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Summer Bird will miss the Japan Cup Dirt on Dec. 6 after being diagnosed with a small bone chip in his right front ankle, his co-owner, K.K. Jayaraman confirmed late Saturday night. It was discovered following a workout Sunday morning in Osaka, Japan.

Summer Bird shipped overseas in mid-November with trainer Tim Ice to prepare for the Japan Cup Dirt. Earlier this year, he won the Belmont Stakes, Travers, and Jockey Club Gold Cup. He finished fourth in his last start, the Breeders' Cup Classic.

"He breezed today and came back and was not walking quite right," said Jayaraman, who owns Summer Bird with his wife, Devi. "Tim said it's very small. We can take it out and run him in three or four months."

Jayaraman said he has yet to set up shipping arrangements back to North America for Summer Bird, but he expected the horse would head first to Lexington, Ky. Ice is scheduled to winter at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark.

Summer Bird is a leading candidate for 3-year-old champion. He has won 4 of 9 starts and $2,323,040.