07/18/2012 1:46PM

Haskell attracts Paynter as substitute for Bodemeister

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Barbara D. Livingston
Paynter (left) was second to Union Rags in the Belmont Stakes.

DEL MAR, Calif. – Paynter, a game second to Union Rags in the Belmont Stakes on June 9, is bound for the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on July 29, trainer Bob Baffert said.

Paynter worked six furlongs in 1:13.20 on Del Mar’s Polytrack synthetic surface on Wednesday.

The decision gives owner Ahmed Zayat a prominent runner in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational after the defection of his Bodemeister, the runner-up in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. Zayat and Baffert had intended to run Bodemeister in the Haskell, but he was declared from the race because of an elevated temperature.

Wednesday, Paynter worked in company with Blueskiesnrainbows, the winner of the Grade 2 Swaps Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park on July 4.

A winner of 2 of 5 starts and $352,224, Paynter had bullet workouts twice earlier this month at Santa Anita, working five furlongs in 58.60 seconds on July 4 and six furlongs in 1:12.60 on July 11.

“He’s been working really well lately,” Baffert said.

In the Belmont, Paynter was beaten a neck by Union Rags after leading for much of the 1 1/2 miles.

Paynter will be ridden in the Haskell by jockey Rafael Bejarano, a replacement for Mike Smith. Baffert described the change in riders as a reflection of Bejarano’s presence as the stable’s first-call jockey.

Baffert said that a race for Blueskiesnrainbows has not been finalized.

“He could run in the Haskell or he could run in the Jim Dandy,” Baffert said, referring to the $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga on July 28.