08/13/2009 12:00AM

Summer Bird unhappy on turf

Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Tim Ice looks over Summer Bird at Saratoga. Ice jogged Summer Bird on grass for the first time Wednesday at the Oklahoma turf course, but the trainer said the 3-year-old colt didn't seem to like the surface.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Belmont Stakes winner Summer Bird will be staying on the dirt for the foreseeable future.

With 2 1/2 weeks until the $1 million Travers Stakes and a few days before he planned to work the horse again, trainer Tim Ice decided to send Summer Bird out for a jog over the Oklahoma turf course Wednesday morning. The idea, Ice said, was to find out how the horse would handle the surface in case he decided to run him in the Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita in November.

This year's Breeders' Cup Classic is being run over Santa Anita's synthetic surface and not on conventional dirt. Summer Bird didn't train that well at Santa Anita when he was there with John Sadler before being transferred to Ice prior to his first career race.

After jockey Kent Desormeaux jogged Summer Bird once around the Oklahoma turf course, Ice came to the realization that the grass is not necessarily greener for his 3-year-old colt.

"I didn't like the way he looked over the turf," Ice said later back at the stakes barn. "He just didn't look comfortable. It could have all been due to the fact it was his first time over it, but it didn't look like the same horse that he looked like going over the dirt. Other than that, everything else is fine."

Had Summer Bird looked comfortable over the turf, Ice said he had planned to work the horse on the grass Friday. Instead, he will now work the colt five furlongs on the dirt Saturday in preparation for the $1 million Travers on Aug. 29.

"Some horses don't like it, some horses do," Ice said. "You're not going to make them like it."

Ice isn't totally ruling out giving Summer Bird another try on a different turf course. He said he would most likely still pre-enter Summer Bird in the Breeders' Cup Turf "just to keep an option open. Maybe the first time he could've been unsure of it."

Ice said Summer Bird is training just as well going into the Travers as he was heading into the Belmont and Haskell. However, Ice said he believes Summer Bird is handling Saratoga's main track in the morning better than he did Monmouth's.

Musketier tries New York again

The last time Musketier shipped to New York from Woodbine, it took the best turf horse in the country - Gio Ponti - to beat him. Saturday, he returns to New York in the Gradeo1, $500,000 Sword Dancer Invitational, a race that Gio Ponti won't be in.

Musketier drew the extreme outside post in the 10-horse field set to run 1 1/2 miles in the Sword Dancer. The field includes Grand Couturier, who seeks an unprecedented three-peat, and Better Talk Now, who won this race in 2004 and was second in it last year.

Musketier hasn't accomplished close to what those two horses have, but his last two races have been the 7-year-old's best, including a front-running score in the Grade 3 Singspiel. While it would appear to have coincided with the front-running tactics he has employed, trainer Roger Attfield said that's not necessarily the case.

"The horse has come around quite a bit," Attfield said. "It's just turned out there's only been a horse or two in those races with pace, and he ended up being there. He doesn't have to be on the lead."

In the , Musketier dueled with Midships before putting that one away turning for home. The only horse Musketier could not fend off in the stretch was Gio Ponti, who came out of the Man o' War to win the Arlington Million, his fourth Grade 1 victory of the year.

"He ran a very good race last time, he got hounded a little bit, too, and overcame that," Attfield said. "He wasn't going to beat the winner, but he certainly gave it a good try, didn't he? He's coming into this race very well."

Jono Jones, aboard Musketier for his last two, has the call again.

The field, from the rail out, is: Grand Couturier, Gentlemen Chester, Lauro, Better Talk Now, Rising Moon, Americain, Telling, Quijano, Brass Hat, and Musketier.

Babai Baby fires a bullet work

Babai Baby, who beat colts in her debut last month at Belmont, worked five furlongs in 1:00.23 on Wednesday morning over the main track in preparation for a start in next Wednesday's Grade 2, $150,000 Adirondack Stakes against fillies at 6 1/2 furlongs.

The work was the fastest of 32 at the distance.

"She just did it so easy," trainer John Kimmel said. "I put her in company with another filly, she stayed right with her and drew off the last eighth, and galloped out strong. Rajiv Maragh was up, and he was very pleased. He said it doesn't get any better than that. She did it well within herself."

Kimmel said he was surprised Babai Baby showed as much speed as she did in her debut, which she won by a neck while covering six furlongs in 1:10.23.

"I was shocked when she made the lead," Kimmel said. "She's always focused when she had horses to track. I'm sure she'll have horses to track in this race."

Those expected for the Adirondack include Dashing Debby, Marabelle, Sassy Image, Tidal Pool, Union Waters, Worship the Moon, and Worstcasescenario.

* Brother Bird, a 2-year-old half-brother to Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, is entered to run in Saturday's second race.