The other Bird did it again, this time in the $1 million Travers Stakes.
Summer Bird splashed his way to a 3 1/2-length victory over 17-1 long shot Hold Me Back in the 1 1/4-mile Travers yesterday at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. He added the Midsummer Derby to his Belmont Stakes win over Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird two months ago.
After the Belmont, Summer Bird finished second to superstar filly Rachel Alexandra in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park Aug. 2. Trainer Tim Ice said all week his colt was ready for a big race at Saratoga. And even though it rained all day, Summer Bird delivered under Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux.
“To me, he is the 3-year-old champion now,’’ Ice said. “They can call him the other Bird if they want, but he’s won the Belmont and the Travers. Take it from there.’’
Quality Road, the 3-2 favorite, bucked his rider off before entering the starting gate, had a poor start, and finished third in the seven-horse field.
Summer Bird broke strongly from the No. 6 post, and was running third behind early leader Our Edge, with Jim Dandy winner Kensei and Quality Road in pursuit.
Leaving the far turn, Summer Bird launched a rally and closed the gap quickly on Kensei, who had taken the lead. The chestnut colt took control nearing the quarter pole and pulled away for his third victory in seven career starts. The winning time for the race was 2 minutes 2.83 seconds.
Summer Bird, the second betting choice at nearly 3-1, returned $6.80, $4.30, and $2.70.
King’s Bishop - Capt. Candyman Can was declared the winner of the $300,000 Grade 1 stakes race at Saratoga after first-place finisher Vineyard Haven was disqualified by the stewards for interference in the stretch. Vineyard Haven, ridden by Alan Garcia, bumped Capt. Candyman Can several times as they dueled for the lead. Capt. Candyman Can completed 7 furlongs in 1:22.35 over a sloppy track and returned $9.80.
Ballerina Handicap - Music Note ($13.60) outdueled Indian Blessing in the stretch and splashed her way to a 5 1/4-length victory in the $300,000 Grade 1 stakes race at Saratoga for older fillies and mares. Music Note covered the 7 furlongs in 1:22.10 in the slop.