02/26/2013 3:34PM

Paynter has first workout since recovery

Email
Casey Phillips
Paynter (left) worked three furlongs in 36 seconds at Santa Anita on Tuesday in company with Carving.

In his first workout since taking seriously ill last summer, Paynter went three furlongs in 36 seconds on Tuesday morning at Santa Anita for trainer Bob Baffert.

“He went nice, very nice,” Baffert said. “He’s training great. He looks great.”

Paynter, who finished second in last year’s Belmont Stakes, has not raced since winning the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth last summer. He became so ill immediately after that race that he had to be sent to a veterinary clinic in New Jersey. After recovering there, he went to Belmont Park and then Saratoga, but became sick again and subsequently spent time in two more clinics on the East Coast and fought off laminitis before regaining his health.

Owned by Ahmed Zayat, Paynter returned to Baffert’s Santa Anita barn in late December. He started jogging in early January before progressing to daily gallops.

Baffert on Tuesday called Paynter’s comeback “a miraculous recovery.”

“I don’t see any effects from the illness,” he said.

Baffert said was hoping to get Paynter on a “six- or seven-day work schedule,” but said any firm plans on a return race were well in the future.

Paynter’s recovery was voted the National Thoroughbred Racing Association’s Moment of the Year for 2012.