08/02/2013 3:55PM

Del Mar notes: Paynter may travel for Woodward

Shigeki Kikkawa
Paynter overcame severe bouts with colitis and laminitis last fall to return to training over the winter.

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DEL MAR, Calif. – Paynter, second in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap on July 27, is likely to make his next start in the $750,000 Woodward Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 31, trainer Bob Baffert said on Friday.

Baffert said he would prefer to run Paynter on a dirt track for his next start as opposed to the Polytrack synthetic surface at Del Mar. He did not rule out staying at Del Mar and starting Paynter in the $1 million Pacific Classic Stakes on Aug. 25.

“I’d like to make the Woodward,” Baffert said. “I’ve got two options – the Pacific Classic or the Woodward. I can always change my mind.”

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Owned by Zayat Stables, Paynter overcame severe bouts with colitis and laminitis last fall to return to training over the winter. A 4-year-old colt best known for his win in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational Stakes at Monmouth Park in July 2012, Paynter won his 2013 debut in an allowance race at seven furlongs at Betfair Hollywood Park on June 14.

Hollywood Park has a synthetic track, but Baffert said on Friday that the Hollywood surface “is more like dirt” compared with Del Mar’s synthetic track.

In the Grade 2, 1 1/16-mile San Diego, Paynter led in the stretch but was caught by Kettle Corn in the final strides and lost by a half-length as the 3-5 favorite.

By Awesome Again, Paynter has won 4 of 8 starts and earned $1,029,424.

Baffert has the favorite for the Pacific Classic in Game On Dude, who won the Hollywood Gold Cup on July 6.

[DEL MAR 2013: Complete meet coverage, schedule, race replays]

El Commodore a pleasant dilemma

El Commodore is scheduled to start in a stakes at the end of August after winning his California debut in an optional claimer at a mile on turf on Thursday. Now trainer Mike Machowsky has to choose between races such as the $250,000 Pat O’Brien Stakes at seven furlongs or the $200,000 Del Mar Mile on turf on Aug. 25, or the $90,000 Harry Brubaker Stakes at a mile on Aug. 31.

“It’s a good question,” Machowsky said. “He trains so good on the main track.”

El Commodore ran brilliantly on the turf on Thursday. Ridden by Mike Smith, El Commodore led throughout and won by 2 1/2 lengths in the quick time of 1:32.99.

“He was impressive,” Machowsky said.

El Commodore, age 6, has won 6 of 30 starts and earned $231,986. He races for Tom Kagele and John Gallegos, who acquired him earlier this year. For previous owner Kinsman Stable, El Commodore was graded stakes-placed at Calder, Monmouth Park and Tampa Bay Downs.

Clubhouse Ride on hold

Clubhouse Ride, the winner of the Grade 2 Californian Stakes at Hollywood Park in June, emerged from his last-place finish in the San Diego Handicap with a low red and white blood count, trainer Craig Lewis said on Friday.

The setback jeopardizes Clubhouse Ride’s chances of a start in the $200,000 Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs on Aug. 18. Clubhouse Ride finished fourth in the Hollywood Gold Cup, a loss that Lewis said may be attributable to his current illness.

“It impacted the horse’s performance,” Lewis said. “His red count was low and his white count was low. We’ve been thinking that’s why he started to tail off. But I’ve never seen a horse that does so good and has a blood disorder.”

Lewis said that Clubhouse Ride suffers from stomach ulcers, which could have contributed to his condition. Further blood tests will be done in 10 days, the trainer said.

Skydreamin looks ready for bigger

Skydreamin, the undefeated 2-year-old colt, earned trainer Jeff Bonde’s respect with a trouble-filled win in the Lost in the Fog Stakes at Golden Gate Fields in his debut on June 15.

“He got wiped out leaving there,” Bonde said. “He climbed the surface for a while. He moved outside and off he went.”

Ridden by Russell Baze, Skydreamin won the Lost in the Fog Stakes by a head, and returned to win the Everett Nevin Stakes at 5 1/2 furlongs by 5 1/2 lengths at Pleasanton on July 7.

Those wins gave Bonde a reason to bring Skydreamin to Southern California for Sunday’s $150,000 Best Pal Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs. The Best Pal is a prep for the $300,000 Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 4.

Skydreamin will be ridden for the first time by Mike Smith, who is likely to have the Sky Mesa colt in a stalking position on the backstretch.

“If they want to go fast, he can wait,” Bonde said.

“He’s a big, strong horse,” Bonde said, watching Skydreamin walk at his stable on Friday morning. “I think he’ll run well.”

Beholder prepping for Torrey Pines

Beholder, champion 2-year-old filly of 2012, worked six furlongs in 1:13.80 on Friday, preparing for an expected start in the $100,000 Torrey Pines Stakes at a mile on Sept. 1.

Trained by Richard Mandella, Beholder finished second in the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on May 3 in her most recent start.

zerosumzen More than 1 year ago
I'd like to see Paynter with another rider, especially if the BC Classic is the goal. So if a trip East would facilitate that, go for it. No disrespect to Bejarano.
Amy Hurley More than 1 year ago
I'd love to see Paynter in the Woodward! Especially since that means I wouldn't have to choose between rooting for GOD and Paynter in the Pacific Classic. (Cross that bridge if/when both make it to the B.C. Classic.) And after hearing what Bejarano said about Paynter not liking Del Mar, why not give the Woodward a shot? If Baffert thinks Paynter is up to a cross-country trip, then go for it!
Jordan More than 1 year ago
How great is that the top 5 finishers from the BC Classic and 9 of the 12 total horses in that field returned to run again this year. There's Fort, Mucho Macho Man, Flat Out, Ron, Richard's Kid(Nonios would have been a huge factor out West had he remained healthy), Game on Dude, Pool Play, Handsome Mike, and Alpha.
Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
Baffert just testing the water he knows inside the big one cant handle these East coast monsters here
Courthouseguy1999 More than 1 year ago
Paynter: good test against GOD if he stays home; interesting to see how he stacks up to those on the East Coast who will skip the Woodward after running in the Whitney (does any horse race in both those SAR races - they're both $750K!). Clubhouse Ride: good grief, freshen up that horse and give him a break, already. It's nice to see a horse actually raced as opposed to babied, but his recent form is trying to tell you something! Beholder: maybe her connections think the two G1 wins at SA this Spring, plus maybe another one in the Zenyatta would be enough to win Champion 3YO filly (assuming Royal Delta wins the BC Distaff). If Princess of Sylmar wins the Alabama or Cotillion, or Midnight Lucky wins the Test and BC FM Sprint....
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
I just can't wait to watch him run in person. Only time you'll here me be selfish when it comes to a horse. Hope all goes perfectly for Paynter. Best of luck. I believe The Whitney's results may play a role. If one horse freaks tomorrow why ship across country?? But I would love to see him at Saratoga.
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Chances are that if a horse freaks in the Whitney it won't come back in the Woodward. The top 3 finishers from last year's Whitney, Fort Larned, Ron, and Flat Out skipped the Woodward. And that seems to be the trend(recent Whitney winners Tizway and Blame also skipped the Woodward). The top horses skipping the Whitney and likely pointing for the Woodward are Flat Out and maybe Graydar if he's ready. Paynter would seem to fit with those two(Flat Out would be a different story at Belmont).
Donna Carlson More than 1 year ago
Wish Del Mar's synthetic track was more like Hollywood Park's.
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Me too.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Another nice horse with ulcers.
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Paynter to the Woodward has always seemed like the choice. But if something happens to Dude, I could then see Paynter staying in Cali. As for Clubhouse Ride, whether it is in the blood or just tailing off, the remedy is probably the same, rest. He just looked worn out for the San Diego and ran like it. Obviously something happened to Beholder following the Kentucky Oaks because I hoped to see her resurface in something a little more glamorous, like the Test.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
They are putting Paynter in way over his head. Now that I've said that, he'll win by six.
Jordan More than 1 year ago
The last few years, the Whitney has drawn monster fields but few then returned for the Woodward. That left the Woodward much weaker, and thus you get results like To Honor and Serve winning a grade 1 at a 2-turn 9 furlongs(no Fort Larned, Ron the Greek, or Flat Out), Havre de Grace beating the boys(no Tizway), and Quality Road winning a 9 furlong grade 1 away from Gulfstream(no Blame). The field Rachel beat in her Woodward was largely the same as the Whitney field that year, minus that year's Whitney 3rd place finisher, the speedy Commentator.