06/11/2010 12:00AM

Summer Bird's dam has died

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Summer Bird arrived Thursday morning at Ben Walden Jr.'s Pauls Mill in Versailles, Ky., where he will begin his stud career in 2011.

But the 2009 champion 3-year-old's welcome party was tinged with sadness for his owners and breeders, Kalarikkal and Devi Jayaraman, who said that Summer Bird's dam died just three weeks ago. Hong Kong Squall, a 14-year-old Summer Squall mare, produced a full sister to Summer Bird before being euthanized at the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington, the Jayaramans said after watching Summer Bird settle comfortably into the four-stall Pauls Mill stallion barn.

The couple, both doctors and longtime breeders and owners, said they got the call about Hong Kong Squall's illness on the same day they were told that Summer Bird likely would have to retire because of a hairline fracture.

"She fell down at the farm, and she had some kind of malignancy," Kalarikkal Jayaraman said of Hong Kong Squall, who boarded at Normandy Farm near Lexington. "We spent her last two days with her."

"It came very quickly," added Devi Jayaraman. "She wasn't sick, and we had seen her two weeks before. Then they called to tell us she had fallen and was sick and they were taking her to the hospital."

The filly is doing well on a nurse mare, the Jayaramans said.

But the Jayaramans said they are looking forward to Summer Bird's stud career. The Birdstone colt's fee hasn't been set, but Walden said he expected the five remaining shares in Summer Bird to sell quickly.

The Jayaramans have kept 15 shares in the 50-share syndicate and say they will be shopping for a few mares for Summer Bird this fall. Walden, who formerly owned the Vinery and Gracefield operations, purchased Pauls Mill in 2008 and has extensively renovated the former foxhunters' and cattle farm for use as a commercial stud farm. Walden said he intends to stand only four stallions, and Summer Bird brings him to that number. Pauls Mill also stands Artie Schiller, Bellamy Road, and U S Ranger.

"We wanted someone who really liked the horse and has the ability to market him," said Devi Jayaraman. The operation's relatively small size was a plus, the couple added.

"It's better to be smaller, I think," Kalarikkal Jayaraman said. "He'll get more attention here than at a 40-stallion place."