11/30/2009 12:00AM

Summer Bird needs surgery for fracture


Summer Bird, who has been declared from the Japan Cup Dirt on Dec. 6 because of injury, is scheduled to leave Japan on Thursday for Los Angeles, where he could undergo surgery for a nondisplaced hairline fracture in his right front cannon bone, said his co-owner, K.K. Jayaraman.

"I think the prognosis for racing is good for him," he said.

Summer Bird, who was injured following a workout Sunday at Hanshin Racecourse near Osaka, was first believed to have sustained a small bone chip in his right front ankle. But Jayaraman said that the Japanese veterinarian who X-rayed the horse did not speak English and the true diagnosis was lost in translation. It was when the X-rays were reviewed by Jayaraman, who is a cardiologist, and Tim Ice, who trains Summer Bird, that the fracture was confirmed.

"It's almost like someone made a little scratch on the glass when you look on the X-ray," said Jayaraman.

He said the fracture is located in the lower portion of the cannon bone. X-rays have been sent to a Colorado veterinarian that Jayaraman has used with success in the past. Jayaraman thought a screw may need to be placed in the fracture line to enhance the healing process, and he felt the surgery could be done in either Los Angeles or Colorado. However, he added that such decisions are to be made when Summer Bird gets back to North America.

Jayaraman said Summer Bird is comfortable, and he is hopeful he will return to the races in 2010.

"The main thing is to get him back home," he said.

Summer Bird won the Belmont Stakes, Travers, and Jockey Club Gold Cup this year to establish himself as a leading candidate for 3-year-old champion. In his most recent start he was fourth in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita. Overall he has won 4 of 9 starts and $2,323,040.