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Hollywood Park: Paynter fires 114 Beyer Speed Figure in return
INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Paynter’s thrilling comeback win in an allowance race at Betfair Hollywood Park on Friday was more than a brilliant performance. It was very fast, too.
Paynter ran seven furlongs in 1:21.86, earning a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 114 in his first start since overcoming colitis and laminitis last summer and fall.
On Saturday, trainer Bob Baffert said Paynter emerged from his victory in ideal shape.
“It was nothing for him,” Baffert said. “He handled it really well.”
The victory has many wondering about plans for the popular 4-year-old’s summer campaign. On Saturday, Baffert was in no mood to discuss Paynter’s next race.
“There are a lot of options everywhere,” he said.
Instead, Baffert was reflecting on Paynter’s performance Friday. Paynter ($2.80) led throughout and pulled clear in the stretch to win by 4 1/2 lengths over Majestic City, a two-time stakes winner in 2011. Majestic City was within a half-length of Paynter for the first half-mile but could not keep pace in the stretch.
Fly Lexis Fly, a two-time Group 1 winner in Peru in 2011 and the runner-up in the Super Derby at Louisiana Downs last September, finished third in the field of eight, beaten 10 3/4 lengths.
Paynter was ridden by leading jockey Rafael Bejarano, who won five races Friday.
By Awesome Again, Paynter has won 4 of 7 starts and $989,420.
Races at Del Mar and Saratoga are under consideration for his next start. If Paynter makes his next start around two turns, the options include the $200,000 San Diego Handicap over 1 1/16 miles on the Polytrack synthetic surface at Del Mar on July 27 and the $750,000 Whitney Invitational over 1 1/8 miles on dirt at Saratoga on Aug. 3.
On Friday, Paynter’s victory set off a boisterous celebration for owner Ahmed Zayat and his family, who traveled from the East Coast.
“I thought I was winning the Kentucky Derby,” said Justin Zayat, Ahmed’s adult son. “We thought if the old Paynter came back, he could do that.”
The race was Paynter’s first start since a victory in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park last July.
“I knew coming back at seven furlongs is a tough distance,” Justin Zayat said. “It kind of reminded me of the Haskell. He pulled away.”
In the weeks after the Haskell, Paynter became ill and spent most of the next two months in veterinary clinics in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania being treated primarily for colitis. During his illness, Paynter’s weight fell from 1,100 pounds to the low-900-pound range.
Paynter began to show improvement in October and returned to Baffert’s stable in Southern California in late December. His recovery from the illnesses was voted as the 2012 Moment of the Year in a poll of fans conducted by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.
Paynter began jogging in January and had the first workout of his comeback in February.
“He went from being 99-1 to survive to 1-9 to win,” Baffert said Friday. “I got emotional watching. It’s an amazing story.”
Is it in his best interest to run 114? First time back.
It seams to me when I handicap,horses have higher beyer figs when they Win by open. Lengths as opposed to winning by less then a length.i notice this in all levels.itend to give more credence to the beyers in more closely contested races
jttf you have no concept of what Andy Beyer is measuring with his speed figure to make comments like you have below. Take 20 minutes and educate yourself to what the Beyer figure is all about and you will not be comparing apples and oranges of a race time at one track to that of another track. And just a quick lesson, the Beyer figure is not weighted for Graded or Stakes races so your comment about Fort Larned doing well in a Graded race has no bearing on what Beyer speed figure that horse earned.
zenyatta's best beyer in her career was a 112. wow, paynter is worth a better beyer than zenyatta ever had. majestic city just lost by 8 lengths to comma on top's 109 beyer. he wasnt very good in 2012. so out of the blue, paynter and majestic city improve at least 10 more beyer points.
I cannot believe folks are debating a Beyer number. They don't measure heart, courage, or anything important really. What's an appropriate BEYER for staring death in the eye for months and having the will to keep fighting? Does Andy really think his number matters in this case....If Paynter does come to NY he's one California based horse I gotta meet. But that may not be smart giving all he has endured. He has the ability to win The Whitney but the travel scares me. Win at Del Mar on synthetic then try Pacific and BC....if all is good for paynter.
I didn't think I could be any prouder of Paynter - this is wonderful news. Imagine how the Zayats must feel if we feel this proud of Paynter's accomplishments. This figure says what we all thought yesterday - Paynter is totally back! Best news anyone could ask for - Well Done, Paynter!
a 114 ?? for winning by 4 lengths against allowance competition. fort larned just beat grade 1 competition by 6 lengths and was almost 4 seconds faster than royal delta. he was also only one tick off of the track record. didnt andy give golden cents an inflated 105 and said he was going to win the derby ? andy needs to adjust his california beyers.
It's a day later and I still get chills. I've been a fan since 1972, but as time goes by, I unfortunately have less and less passion for the one thing I once had the most passion about and that would be this sport. Breeding for speed, shorter and shorter races, shorter and shorter racing careers, drugs, tracks closing, selling some of our best to other countries, very poor decision making by the powers that control the fate of the Breeders Cup, blah, blah, blah. However, it is days like yesterday that come around every now and then that reinvigorate one's passions. Thank you, Paynter. My anticipation for his next race is huge.
114 beyer, 100% return. great job everyone involved
What an inspiring comeback. Congrats to Paynter and his connections. The triumph of the equine spirit!