07/02/2009 11:00PM

Summer Bird at Monmouth after two-day trip


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Summer Bird was bright and alert Friday morning at Monmouth Park at the conclusion of his two-day trip from Louisiana.

The same couldn't be said for Tim Ice, the trainer of the Belmont Stakes winner, who admitted to being bushed after the journey.

"I'm tired," Ice said. "The trip killed me this time but he shipped great. He's full of himself. Overall, the weather was perfect for the trip. We ran into a little rain last night but it was cooling. We didn't have to travel in 90 to 100 degree heat."

The Grade 1, $1 million Haskell Invitational here on Aug. 2 is the next objective for Summer Bird. Following the pattern that worked so well in the Belmont, Ice shipped his horse well in advance of the race.

The journey started 9 p.m. Wednesday at Louisiana Downs. The van pulled into Churchill Downs at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, giving Summer Bird, and traveling companion Independence War, a third-level allowance runner, a chance to briefly unwind while Ice grabbed a nap.

They were back on the road by 5 p.m., arriving at Monmouth at 5:30 a.m.

This is Ice's first visit to Monmouth. He will take in what the Jersey Shore has to offer after catching up on some sleep.

Summer Bird will gallop Saturday and Sunday with a breeze likely on Monday.

"If he looks like he does now and the way he's feeling, we'll probably work him Monday," Ice said. "I want him to have at least a couple of days over the track before a work, but he is due for one."

After that, Ice will put Summer Bird on a schedule of Sunday breezes, as the Haskell is run on a Sunday.