02/26/2013 2:34PM

Paynter has first workout since recovery

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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.

Carl Gundersen More than 1 year ago
Welcome back Paynter to the smells of of the dirt track.
Infinity More than 1 year ago
Good deal...nice horse..good luck.
Ann Maree More than 1 year ago
It is very heartwarming to see Paynter on the list of those who have worked out! There have been cases where horses had serious illnesses and came back, but, it took a great deal of time: Seattle Slew nearly died the January of his 4th year and was off for several months. Ran in a couple of allowances and then hit the big time once again, garnering Older Horse honors, beating that year's TC winner, Affirmed, ran an historic race in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, although he lost it brought a new level of respect. What is truly amazing is that his connections brought him back in his 4th year at all!!! Today, he would have retired to stud and that would have been the end of it. Then there was Invisible Ink who ran second to Monarchos in the 2001 KY Derby. He nearly died in his juvenile year, was at one point all but recognizable he was so ill, yet, he bounced back to start in the 2001 KY Derby and the horse that won the race had to match Secretariat's record to beat Inky. So, it is not unprecedented for Paynter to have a shot to make his mark, and after all that he went through, he and his connections deserve a salute and all the support we can give them. Power Up, Paynter!
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
Wonderful post, Ann Maree. Invisible Ink is a horse who means a lot to me because of his courageous, inspirational fight for life before the 2001 Kentucky Derby. He grabbed a spot in my heart because of his courage in the face of certain death, and because he was the ignored-by-the-media son (in 2001) of Thunder Gulch, a horse I had loved and supported his Derby year. Point Given, another son of Thunder Gulch, was also in the 2001 Derby, and all of the media love and attention went to him, while Invisible Ink had mostly been ignored. Inky's story eventually got out, though, and Inky gained millions of fans that year, fans who followed him throughout his life and still visit his final resting place to this day. The 2001 Derby is one of favorite Derbies because of Inky and Monarchos. Inky saved the best race of his life for the Kentucky Derby, and I could not have been prouder of him! I mourned when Inky passed away a few years ago, gone much too soon. But, oh my, was Inky every loved! Every horse should be fortunate and lucky enough have fiercely devoted, loving owners the way Inky was loved by his owner! Paynter's story and tribulations has always reminded me of Inky's situation as well, and grabbed my heart just as Inky's situation did. I am so grateful to see Paynter doing so well and looking so fabulous. That is all happy answers to a lot of fervent prayers. Thank you for mentioning Invisible Ink. I miss him. I will always love that brave, sweet stallion. RIP, Invisible Ink. And my hope for Paynter is to have a long, happy, healthy life, and that he will always be around people who love him, just like Inky. Paynter is a wonderful, incredibly brave and strong horse. He, and his story, will always be an inspiration. Have a good day, Ann Maree!
Ann Maree More than 1 year ago
I've read several articles about Inky and I, too, was very impressed with his courage and the courage of his owner, John Fort. When Inky died, Fort was overcome with emotion in trying to talk about him. He really loved that horse like no other. We definitely are in sync about horses like Inky and Paynter. They are special, and they are what sets this sport miles apart from any other. Thank you for your kind words, Joy.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Its really great for this sport to have a down and out colt return to the races...people can relate.... I CAN! I truelly am pulling for Paynter. Besides being a great positive for a limping business, IT WOULD BE AWESOME JUST FOR THE HORSE. True that I can be a HUGE SKEPTIC but I always route for an underdog.
Gary More than 1 year ago
Great news...such magnificent creatures.
Lise McLain More than 1 year ago
Hi! So happy to see that Paynter has returned to his first workout. I am so grateful that his owner and the vets and others involved in his care while he was seriously ill loved him enough to see that he got the best of care. This is what most fans want to see; we love these horses as much as the owners do. Reading stories of horses that have been abandoned and neglected is not good for the horse racing industry. It turns people off for the most part. Thank you!
RockaFelter21 More than 1 year ago
he will without a doubt be fav in classic if all goes well..and prob horse of the year
ctgreyhound More than 1 year ago
That's a stretch, but anything is possible. Paynter would then be coined "the miracle horse." To some, he already is.
Terri Bey More than 1 year ago
I feel bad for the connections of this wonderful horse. Seriously. The reason is that the "fans" ruin the sport for themselves, and for horse owners. The Zayats and Baffert can't win. They retire the horse. People will say they didn't give the horse a chance. They have the horse back in training, what am I seeing here? The horse should not run. Maybe he won't return to form. Here is a story that people should get behind, but all fans can do is complain. I hope that Paynter's comeback is a success. If not, at least he was given a shot.
B More than 1 year ago
It will be pretty much miraculous if he returns at the top of his game, but here's hoping for a miracle. Don't think he was a great horse, but he was a good one with a lot of potential. This has been an unusual journey to put it mildly. It would be great for the sport if he were somehow able to do big things.
ctgreyhound More than 1 year ago
Not a great horse? That conclusion can only be based on conjecture. To surmise on his standing at this point or prior to his illnesses is premature. He has ability and the talent, but the full extent of those qualities has yet to be exhibited. Whether he will be able to demonstrate effectively which was once a possibility is the question that remains unanswered and possibly always will.
jttf More than 1 year ago
so if he is not going to retire and be a stud. why not geld him and take some of girth off of him ? he would carry a lighter load.