06/15/2013 1:53PM

Hollywood Park: Paynter fires 114 Beyer Speed Figure in return

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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.”

ziskokid1 . More than 1 year ago
Is it in his best interest to run 114? First time back.
Randy Baker More than 1 year ago
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
W.G. WARM WIND More than 1 year ago
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.
jttf More than 1 year ago
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.
W.G. WARM WIND More than 1 year ago
Your not getting it, buddy. You need to read the Beyer info that is in the DRF "LEARN" tab at the top of the page and the down to "Beyer Speed Figures". You have some idea that times are the same at all tracks or the speed of the surface never varies from wet to dry weather, just to name a few big factors. It is free info and it will help you not only handicap better, but then you will not be making anymore embarrassing to you, statements here in a public forum.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
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.
Frank More than 1 year ago
You got it Thomas -- cant measure heart/grit and will to win. Very recent, look at Union Rags -- not saying he was greatest by any means -- but that horse had heart, guts and grit to win -- showed in his Belmont victory and BC Juvenile race (even though he got second) -- I think his career best beyers was 99.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
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!
zerosumzen More than 1 year ago
Definitely a big highlight. Paynter is the kind of story that uplifts all. It's interesting to me that one horse can uplift people more than most politicians could ever hope for. The beauty of horse racing.
jttf More than 1 year ago
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.
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Fort Larned is going to get a monster fig for the Foster. At least 117, maybe 120. Certainly some of the SA figs were inflated, like the SA Derby and Santa Margarita(Joyful Victory). Then, again, the sprint figs for races like the Palos Verdes and San Carlos weren't big, and horses from those races have won a grade 1 and two grade 3s back East. And are you honestly telling me the Gulfstream figs aren't terribly inflated every year? Every year some horses earn superstar figs down there only to be exposed later in the year. The key as a handicapper is to idenify figs that might be off slightly.
Kalar Walters More than 1 year ago
115
Electrocutionst More than 1 year ago
Like I said earlier, the race was assigned a 114 because a horse named Paynter won it, not because of anything else. And no way a 7 furlong race should get assigned a number that high, not even mentioning it was an allowance race, against inferior competition...A horse of Paynters quality should be able to go that fast at that distance every day of the week.
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
Beyer SPEED figure. It doesnt matter if he ran against cows or horses, the horse ran the same speed.
zerosumzen More than 1 year ago
I'm not big on Beyers (I don't use them), but figures for front running speeds, not affected by pace, are probably the most reliable. So the figs for Paynter and Fort Larned are good to go. Aside from that, it's a pointless discussion. If you benefit from Beyers use them, if you question them don't. And you may want to brush up on your understanding of the concept of speed figures.
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
Beyers are not awarded based on quality of the field. The runner up probably ran in the low-mid 90's.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
Don't get all crazy about the speed figure number. It's not what's really important in this story. The most important thing in this speed figure number is that it indicates that Paynter not only beat death back many times over, but that he is completely back to being the Paynter we knew in Spring/Summer 2012. That's all that really counts in any of this. The triumph & rise of this horse in all areas of his life is all that really counts.
B More than 1 year ago
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.
Jim Fields More than 1 year ago
114 beyer, 100% return. great job everyone involved
Perl More than 1 year ago
What an inspiring comeback. Congrats to Paynter and his connections. The triumph of the equine spirit!