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Breeders' Cup 2017

Rest in peace, Summer Bird

Summer Bird 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire


Very sad news by way of Japan came in this morning. Summer Bird, the Champion Three-year-old Male of 2009, passed away today, just days short of turning eight, after an unsuccessful battle with Colic.


The winner of three huge races in New York, was first sent to Japan at the end of his championship season for a run at the Japan Cup Dirt. Summer Bird fractured a leg while in training for the Grade 1 race, however. Hopes to return for his four-year-old season were ended when it was discovered the injury had not healed completely. First standing in the U.S., the young stallion was again sent to Japan after being purchased by Japanese interests late last year. His first foals are yearlings this year. As a show of tribute to the fallen champion, please enjoy these highlights from his short, but highly successful career.


Summer Bird first made noise on a national level when he rallied down the Oaklawn Park stretch to finish third in the Arkansas Derby. It sure looked like if the race had been only a little farther, he would have run down the leaders; not bad for a young colt making only his third lifetime start, and having only made his career debut six weeks earlier... 


While the Arkansas Derby was his coming out party, it was in New York where he methodically moved to the top of his class. While most eyes were on the other Bird, it was the Tim Ice trained, and Drs. Kalarikkal K. & Vilasini D. Jayaraman owned colt who proved too much to handle in the demanding final stages of the Belmont Stakes...


The Travers was billed as the afternoon that the much hyped Quality Road was going to prove that he was the most talented three-year-old of the crop, but on a messy track at Saratoga, the big chestnut would have none of that... 




In his first try against older horses, it was the other three-year-old, Quality Road, that would challenge the son of Birdstone in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. This time his foe was running his best, but it would not matter. Summer Bird looked him in the eye, and once again, came out on top...



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Older Comments about Rest in peace, Summer Bird...

Big hitters always have special places in memory.
My first big hit was courtesy of this horse at the Belmont. Sad.
He had great run in 2009, that year of the Birds.
Very sad news, I hate when our good horses leave the country and then don't come home. I wish they could be returned to the US so they can be laid to rest in their native country. I'm sure the Japanese folks took good care of him, (they really love horseracing) but all the same, he was our Classic winner. RIP big boy
Dullahan too
These chestnuts aren't lasting. Summer bird, Saint Liam, Bowman's Band,...
Saw him a few years ago when he was at WinStar. A gorgeous horse, (I'm partial to bright chestnuts), too young to die. Look forward to seeing his babies run soon. RIP, Summer Bird.
I really liked this big guy.........and so sad to pass away at such a young age.....
Thank you Brian. He is one of my alltime favorites. After seeing him in that Arkansas Derby, I never forgot him. RIP. What a fitting tribute.
Colic is a true killer for sure.A great horse and big loss!!
As good as Summer Bird was in the Belmont, I was most impressed with Dunkirk's race. He just wasn't giving up. RIP Summer Bird.
JWC, 289 foals--see yukichan's post above.
Saw him win the Travers that year. Very sad to see this one go, was looking forward to seeing his babies run. Anyone know how many foals he has?
A at least one filly in Venezuela
He was really a handsome horse...289 little birds, I believe, in the US from his first two seasons.

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