07/28/2013 7:56PM

Del Mar: Kettle Corn, Paynter could get rematch in Pacific Classic

Benoit & Associates
Kettle Corn wins Saturday's Grade 2 San Diego Handicap by a half-length over Paynter.

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DEL MAR, Calif. – Kettle Corn and Paynter, the first two finishers of Saturday’s Grade 2 San Diego Handicap at Del Mar, might have a rematch in the $1 million Pacific Classic on Aug. 25.

Trainer John Sadler said the Pacific Classic is the primary goal for Kettle Corn. Trainer Bob Baffert said Paynter also will be considered for the $750,000 Woodward Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 31.

“It will either be the Pacific Classic or the Woodward,” Baffert said.

Kettle Corn closed from last in a field of six to finish a half-length in front of Paynter in the San Diego Handicap, run over 1 1/16 miles on the Polytrack synthetic surface. The San Diego was the most prestigious win for Kettle Corn, a 6-year-old who races for Lee and Susan Searing.

“He likes synthetic, and he likes this track,” Sadler said Sunday. “He got some pace in front of him, and he got some breaks.”

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Kettle Corn has won 8 of 24 starts and $653,111. The San Diego was his first stakes win since the Grade 3 Native Diver Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park in December 2011.

Kettle Corn’s win spoiled the 2013 stakes debut of Paynter, who won the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational in 2012 and later survived severe bouts with laminitis and colic. Paynter resumed training last winter and won his comeback race, an allowance at Hollywood Park in June.

On Sunday, Baffert questioned whether Paynter handled the surface.

“He ran great,” Baffert said. “He couldn’t untrack himself. He needed the race.”

Batti Man, who finished third in the San Diego, will not start in the Pacific Classic, trainer Dan Hendricks said. A 5-year-old Argentine-bred, Batti Man will be considered for the $200,000 Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs on Aug. 18.

Batti Man, sent off at 34-1, set the pace in the San Diego and was beaten 1 1/4 lengths by Kettle Corn.

“It was probably the best race he’s ever run,” Hendricks said. “He fought them to the finish.”

Baffert has the leading contender for the Pacific Classic in Game On Dude, who won the Hollywood Gold Cup on July 6 for his fifth consecutive win and his fourth win of 2013.

On Sunday, Baffert said on his Twitter feed that Joel Rosario has been booked to ride Game On Dude in the Pacific Classic. Mike Smith, who has ridden Game On Dude during his current winning streak, is booked to ride Royal Delta in the $600,000 Personal Ensign at Saratoga the same day.

Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Paynter to Woodward. Dullahan again in PC. With Talamo I hope.
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
Paynter is going to connect on one of these next races. Make sure you don't miss it.
Cover2 More than 1 year ago
Raffy/agent could of picked Kettle Corn, then Bob has to go with Joe Steiner, assure you Paynter will not go 3/5 PC, worst underlay I have ever seen in 66 years !
John More than 1 year ago
Seems that Poly, Synthetic, and what ever else is out there is the crucible for a horses ability. A well trained athlete can run on crushed glass.
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
One punch in the gut.
John More than 1 year ago
Congrats to Dan Hendricks on Batti Man's race. A fine trainer and gentleman who does not rush his charges.
Benjamin Balke More than 1 year ago
I hope Garrett Gomez Rides Paynter in the Pacific!
Walter More than 1 year ago
Does anyone know why Gary Stevens is not riding any Baffert Horses these days? From what I remember, Gary rode many winners for him in the past.
Dick More than 1 year ago
Cuz Baffert, is a flake,,,,,, He will give some to Gary, when he fires one of his other jocks again and again!!!!!
Barry Taylor More than 1 year ago
Easy choice for Mike. Bob gives Mike nothing to ride besides GOD. He took him off both Paynter, and Executiveprivilege. Plus, Besilu Stables owns a ton of good horses, and Mike has gotten the mounts on them. Like Chad Brown taking the best money rider off a horse in a grade 1 race on Saturday, only to see Joel put down a crap ride and lose by a head.
Barbara Bowen More than 1 year ago
Easy choice to give up the purse money? BS. Sticking it to Bob for all the times he has jerked Mike around might be worthwhile but hardly seems like MS style and he is grateful for the mount and success on GOD. Maybe it is as simple as giving the call to her all year, despite the $.
Barry Taylor More than 1 year ago
Purse money? What about the purse money from ALL the horses Mott gives him to ride, as apposed to ONE horse from Bob? To me it seams like Mike doesn't get the respect he deserves from some of these trainers. Palace Malice, nobody wanted in the derby, Princess of Sylmar, nobody wanted in the Oaks. He gets the other jocks left overs and wins big races. I remember back in 1993/1994 Mike was riding every big horse in America. Holy Bull is my all time favorite, and Mike my all time favorite jock, and it pisses me off the way he is treated sometimes. You see Graded races all the time in CA and Mike is in the jock's room watching them. It is ridiculous
Barbara Bowen More than 1 year ago
Barry, with all due respect, you need a math lesson about the purse money GOD has earned and will most likely earn. Smith was on a top 3 year old prospect for Bob that didn't pan out this year, War Academy. Gave up Oxbow to ride him for Baffert in Ark Derby. Rode place horses through the Triple Crown series for him last year. Other riders, one in particular, did want Palace Malice in Derby and in Belmont (but Mike asked for the mount back after Derby debacle). Mike is not getting left overs, he is actually the regular rider of arguably the top 3 year old colt (Pletcher), the top older horse (Baffert), and the top older mare (Mott), which caused him to give up the top 3 year old filly (Pletcher). Mott does not ride him on every top horse, either, but they do have a very long history. Outside of John Velasquez, Mike is top money rider in US, And owners LOVE him. So don't feel too sorry for him...
Barry Taylor More than 1 year ago
I understand your argument about the long-term purse money that GOD will generate in comparison to Royal Delta. I get that...and you are right that GOD will out purse Royal Delta, but what you are missing is that fact that Besilu stables is a big time investor in horses, and if Mike can get the rides on all the big horses that they invest in..that's big purse money in the long term. As for the other points you made, you are mistaken. Oxbow was never Mike's mount, it was always going to be Stevens, Mike just filled in the one time for Gary. That is document by an interview posted on this site by Wayne. As far as the Zayat horses that Mike rode last year in the Triple Crown, Bodemeister was Bejerano's horse, in the Arkansas Derby, Bejerano picked Secret Circle, so Mike got the ride. It was not Mike's ride from the get go, he only got it because Bejerano picked Secret Circle. As far as Paynter goes, the first time Mike rode that horse was in an Allowance race at Pimlico on Preakness day. He only got that ride because of Bodemeister. In both the Derby Trial and Santa Anita Derby, Garcia was the rider. Now, how many horses has Mike rode for Zayat since then? Just one, Justin Phillip in a Grade 2 race at Santa Anita (finished off the board) Princess of Sylmar was Castellano's Horse, he picked Unlimited Budget instead. Palace Malice was given to Mike after all the other Pletcher horses had been filled, he might have had a choice between Malice and Overanalyze, but only because Gomez picked Vyjack over Malice. I don't feel sorry for him, I just think that it's ridiculous that stakes race after stakes race run in CA with Mike Smith in the jocks room or at home relaxing. That should not be the case, but it is. .......and realize that the G1 race that Mike won on Sunday, was only possible because Baze was suspended. It is what it is, Mike even said that the trainers want the young guys. I am very happy with the year he is having, it is better to have a choice between big horses that not having any.
Gomez More than 1 year ago
Are you the Barbara Bowen who helped get Academy Award his retirement home at Old Friends?
Barbara Bowen More than 1 year ago
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
No brainer royal delta far superior in her field then game on is in his. Two time ladies classic winner. I would go with her hands down. If Rosario loses on game he can get mount back. Dullahan will be tough and if paynter is entered both horses have early speed. Don't see paynter running should wait for awesome again stakes at Santa anita in early October.
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
Oranges are so much sweeter than apples.
pokerstariceman More than 1 year ago
no chance paynter runs again at del mar. he is a dirt horse.
Barry Taylor More than 1 year ago
If Paynter runs, he will need a new jock. Bejerano to ride Dullahan