07/21/2013 6:07PM

Del Mar notes: Paynter set for 2013 stakes debut in Grade 2 San Diego

Shigeki Kikkawa
Paynter won his 2013 debut at Betfair Hollywood Park last month and breezed five furlongs in 59.40 seconds Sunday at Del Mar.

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DEL MAR, Calif. – Paynter was pronounced fit for his 2013 stakes debut in Saturday’s $200,000 San Diego Handicap by trainer Bob Baffert after working five furlongs in 59.40 seconds at Del Mar on Sunday morning.

The winner of the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park last August, Paynter made national racing news last August and September after he survived bouts with colitis and laminitis. He returned to training at the start of 2013 and resumed racing at Betfair Hollywood Park in June, scoring a convincing win in a seven-furlong allowance race, his only start this year.

On Sunday, Paynter worked with stablemate Liaison, another candidate for the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap, which is run over 1 1/16 miles. Baffert trains both colts.

In the workout, Liaison, who won two stakes this year at Santa Anita and Hollywood Park, was ridden by Martin Garcia and started in front of Paynter, who was ridden by Rafael Bejarano. Paynter caught Liaison in the stretch, and the two 4-year-old colts finished together. Paynter was timed in 59.40, while Liaison was timed in 59.60.

“I’ve been working him from off the pace,” Baffert said of Paynter. “They breezed and just cruised around there.”

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Owned by Zayat Stables, Paynter has won 4 of 7 starts and $989,424. The San Diego Handicap will be Paynter’s first start on Del Mar’s Polytrack synthetic surface.

“It’s not his favorite surface, but I don’t want to ship him yet,” Baffert said.

The San Diego Handicap is not expected to have a large field. Chief Havoc, the winner of the Grade 2 Swaps Stakes for 3-year-olds at Hollywood Park on July 4, is a likely runner after working five furlongs Sunday in 59.20, the fastest of 83 recorded works at the distance.

Trainer Peter Miller had considered Saturday’s $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes for 3-year-olds at Saratoga for Chief Havoc but said Sunday he is leaning toward staying in California.

Other candidates are Clubhouse Ride, who won the Grade 2 Californian Stakes in June and was fourth in the Hollywood Gold Cup on July 6, and possibly Batti Man, who was fifth in the Californian.

Options for Jeranimo

Jeranimo won the seventh stakes of his career in the $300,000 Eddie Read on turf Saturday. Where he surfaces in an attempt for an eighth stakes win will be the subject of a conference call between co-owners B.J. Wright and Robert LaPenta and trainer Mike Pender this week.

In the winner’s circle after the Grade 1 Eddie Read, Wright and Pender mentioned the $1 million Arlington Million on turf at Arlington Park on Aug. 17 or the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic at Del Mar on Aug. 25 as options.

“We haven’t committed to anything,” Pender said.

In the 1 1/8-mile Eddie Read, Jeranimo rallied from last in a field of nine to win by 1 1/2 lengths over 23-1 Vagabond Shoes. Jeranimo was the 5-2 favorite and won for the first time since the Grade 2 San Gabriel Stakes at Santa Anita last January.

Autrey gets two-win day

Trainer Cody Autrey had the first two-win day of his career at Del Mar on Saturday with the 2-year-old maiden Guns Loaded and the $12,500 claimer Star Vesta. Guns Loaded could give the 33-year-old Autrey his first stakes win at Del Mar later this summer.

Owned by James and Ywachetta Driver of Irving, Texas, Guns Loaded won his debut in a $75,000 maiden race over 5 1/2 furlongs, leading throughout to win by a half-length in 1:04.51. A colt by D’wildcat, Guns Loaded earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 73.

On Sunday, Autrey said he is debating whether to start Guns Loaded in the $150,000 Best Pal Stakes over 6 1/2 furlongs Aug. 4, the $300,000 Del Mar Futurity over seven furlongs Sept. 4, or even to wait for the Santa Anita autumn meeting that begins in late September.

“We’ll give it a week and see how he trains,” Autrey said. “He’s a good-minded horse, and he’s done what we’ve asked. If we feel like it, he’ll run in two weeks.”

The Texas-based Autrey was winless with 18 starters at the Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting. Through Saturday, he had three wins in the first four days at Del Mar. He said the two-win day Saturday was a surprise.

“I’d be arrogant if I said I expected it,” Autrey said.