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Belmont Stakes 2012: Baffert still a Belmont player with Paynter
ELMONT, N.Y. - While Bob Baffert sent Kentucky Derby and Preakness runner-up Bodemeister home to California, the Hall of Fame trainer will still have a wild card to play in the June 9 Belmont Stakes with Paynter, who on Sunday worked a solid five furlongs over the Belmont Park training track.
[BELMONT STAKES: Video updates, expected field, early odds]
Paynter, a 5 3/4-length allowance winner at Pimlico on Preakness Day, breezed five furlongs in 59.26 seconds, going in company with the Jerome Stakes runner-up Brigand. Paynter, under exercise rider Simon Harris, began his breeze about 1 1/2 lengths behind Brigand, caught him after breezing a quarter-mile in 24.21 seconds and finished about 1 1/2 lengths in front of Brigand while completing his final three furlongs in 35.05 seconds. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.74.
“He’s just a little bit lazy, I was a length or so behind [Brigand], I just had to shake him up to go get him,” Harris said. “Once I did that, he responded right away. Not only did he go get him, he went right by him. I’m really happy with the work.”
[I’LL HAVE ANOTHER: Derby, Preakness winner runs for Triple Crown]
Jimmy Barnes, Baffert’s assistant, called an audible and moved Paynter’s work from the main track to the training track after a thunderstorm hit Belmont 15 minutes before the main track’s renovation break. The main track was sloppy and sealed, but the training track was harrowed and labeled fast, but was more on the good side following the rain.
“He worked fine,” Barnes said. “Bob said go in a minute and we went a shade under a minute.”
Both Barnes and Harris indicated that Paynter came out of his allowance race at Pimlico in good shape. In fact, Harris was surprised to learn that Paynter ran just eight days ago.
“Plenty of energy,” Harris said.
Said Barnes: “We got a fresh horse that’s for sure.”
Barnes said given the hard campaign Bodemeister had, it wouldn’t have been “the right thing to do to run him back” against I’ll Have Another, who will seek to become racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner in the Belmont.
“He had three very hard races,” Barnes said. “There are a lot of other races in the summer with the Haskell probably being the main one to look forward to.”
Barnes said the 1 1/2 miles is an unknown for Paynter and the other 11 horses under consideration for the Belmont.
“I don’t think anybody knows whether they can go a mile and a half, do they?” Barnes said.
Due to the forecasted rain, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin moved Alpha’s work up to from 8:45 on the main track to 6:15 a.m. on the training track.
Alpha worked five furlongs in 1:01.93, breaking off from the half-mile pole. He worked in company with the stakes-winning filly Coax Liberty, who ended her work at the wire and was given a four-furlong time of 49.10 seconds.
“We got it in, he worked great,” McLaughlin said.
It was Alpha’s first work since he finished 12th in the Kentucky Derby. McLaughlin noted that Alpha “melted before our eyes” in the paddock at Churchill Downs.
McLaughlin said that he schooled Alpha in the paddock at Belmont on Saturday and he “got a little warm. We’ll do it again.”
Due the sloppy main track, trainer Doodnauth Shivmangal canceled a scheduled workout for Belmont longshot Guyana Star Dweej, who just galloped over the main track after the break.
Dale Romans said that Dullahan was scheduled to leave Churchill Downs around 5 or 6 p.m. Sunday by van and arrive at Belmont around 5 or 6 Monday morning.
Upon his arrival, nine of the 12 horses under consideration for the Belmont Stakes will be on the grounds. Union Rags (Fair Hill), Optimizer (Churchill Downs), and Ravelo’s Boy (Calder) are not here.
Paynter has not one but TWO beyers higher than anything Dullahan or Union Rags has run this year
Rose Napravnick will do what Julie Krone did.
Results of 2012 Belmont Stakes (Prediction) Dullahan $21.20 8.80 5.40 Union Rags 6.20 5.00 Optimizer 21.80 EX 136.00 TRIF 3,288.40 SUPER 27,592.00 Also Rans: (In order of Finish) Alpha, Paynter, I'll Have Another, Street Life, Atigun, Five Sixteen, Ravelo's Boy, Unstoppable U. Guyana Star Dweej DULLAHAN, allowed to settle mid pack the first mile, gained ground while advancing in the 3 path thereafter to reach parity with UNION RAGS with a 1/16th to go and prevailed by a head in a furious duel to the wire. UNION RAGS, saving ground on the rail while running third the first six furlongs, began accelerating to pass PAYNTER and I'LL HAVE ANOTHER by the mile marker and looked poised for a win only to be outfinished in the last 30 yards by a determined DULLAHAN. OPTIMIZER, was kept back under good rating until the last quarter mile and closed ferociously to be third. ALPHA, also slow in the early stages, advanced gradually throughout every stage of the race to finish fourth without menacing the top three. PAYNTER, forwardly placed while being pursued by I'LL HAVE ANOTHER for eight furlongs, tired thereafter to finish fifth. I'LL HAVE ANOTHER, racing forwardly behind PAYNTER to the mile marker suddenly began to tire and dropped back steadily the last half mile to fall short of the winner by 9 lengths.STREET LIFE, ATIGUN and FIVE SIXTEEN all raced midpack throughout and failed to menace the top six. RAVELO'S BOY, UNSTOPPABLE U, & GUYANA STAR DWEEJ were overmatched and never threatened.
maybe he's capable maybe not but right now he's an allowance horse and another horse for mike to give mario a piggy back ride with.....
and he ran 9 lengths faster than older stakes fillies that day, Awesomemundo in the Allaire Dupont Distaff.
He is a main contender. Mike Smith rated him perfectly running a 24/48/1:12 and 1:36. And he drew off to win by almost 6 lengths and posting a 106 BSF. Could be dangerous if he is allowed to run those same clips.
Really can't blame Baffert for taking a shot with this horse, considering the success the West Coasters have had this Triple Crown run. His 5th in the SA Derby might be enough to get 2nd or 3rd in the Belmont.
Probably a send job he'll stop at 7 furlongs
Baffert would run a 3 legged PIG, if it got him in the SPOTLIGHT,Yes NOT a fan of Mr Baffert. I'm a card carring fan of Martin Garcia,so sue me....
Comparing baffert to Lukas is ridiculous. Paynter is very talented and has every right to take a shot in this spot with a distance-bred horse who has flashed a ton of talent in four career starts. Some people don't like baffert personally but this horse belongs and he adds a lot of intrigue to the race. If he goes 8-1 or longer I'll have to play him.