Summer Bird surgery called a success

NEW YORK — Belmont Stakes winner Summer Bird has undergone surgery to repair a fractured bone in his right front leg and is expected to return to racing next year.

Summer Bird trainer Tim Ice said Saturday that as long as rehab goes well the 3-year-old colt should make a full recovery. Ice said there was no cartilage damage and one screw was inserted to fuse the cannon bone.

"He'll spend two weeks in a stall, and we'll get out walking a little bit," Ice told the Daily Racing Form. "Basically, he'll need three or four months of rest. There is no cartilage damage at all. We still have a racehorse."

The horse was injured late last month while training for Sunday's Japan Dirt Cup.

Summer Bird also won the Travers Stakes and the Jockey Club Gold Cup and is the leading candidate for the Eclipse Award as the top 3-year-old colt. He finished fourth to Zenyatta in the Breeders' Cup Classic on Nov. 7.

Rule headed to Florida

Delta Jackpot Stakes winner Rule will ship from Louisiana to Florida to rest up for his 3-year-old debut, trainer Todd Pletcher told the Daily Racing Form.

The WinStar Farm colt won the $750,000 race late Friday night, securing $450,000 in graded earnings. That total virtually guarantees him a start in the Kentucky Derby.

"It puts him in a great position where we can manage him any way that we like," Pletcher told the Racing Form.

The trainer said Rule would probably return to the track in February or March.