Updated on 10/16/2012 1:36PM

Paynter leaving New Bolton, headed to Fair Hill center in Maryland

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Barbara D. Livingston
On Friday, Paynter's owner, Ahmed Zayat, tweeted: "Paynter has beaten colitis, laminitis, and a nasty abscess and today we are proud of our special colt.”

Haskell winner Paynter will leave Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center on Sunday and head to Fair Hill Equine Therapy Center in Maryland and then to WinStar Farm in Kentucky, owner Ahmed Zayat said Friday evening.

The 3-year-old colt, who has been hospitalized since Aug. 26 battling colitis and early-stage signs of laminitis, probably will stay at Fair Hill Equine Therapy in Elkton, Md., for three to four weeks before shipping on to WinStar, where he likely will remain for at least two to three months, Zayat estimated.

Regarding the decision to give Paynter about a month in Maryland before heading to WinStar, Zayat said, "The reason I am doing that is that I'm a little nervous, and I don't want to ship him too long, even though he's doing everything right and everyone is kind of bullish and comfortable. We've been very conservative, and I'd rather take it very easy. In three or four weeks, when he's better, we'll ship him to Kentucky where the weather should be better."

Zayat said he also wanted Paynter to remain near his New Bolton Center veterinary team, located in Kennett Square, Pa.

"Fair Hill is very close to New Bolton, so that's one other reason," Zayat said.

Zayat has sent other horses to WinStar near Versailles, Ky., in the past, including Nehro and Bodemeister.

Regarding Paynter's plans after his rehab, Zayat said, "I want to be very careful and very clear about that. I want to manage my own expectations before anybody else's expectations. Although Paynter has defied the odds, has been a trooper, and has been a warrior, I want the horse to tell us that he's ready, I would love to see him back at the racetrack where he belongs, but I am not going to either rush him or send him if he's not ready. During his rehab, if he's telling me, 'No, I'm not ready' or 'I want to be a daddy' or 'I want to be a horse or be retired,' then let it be. It's important that we bring stars for the game, for the fans, and for all of us, but I'm going to let him tell us."

Earlier Friday, Zayat tweeted: "We are declaring VICTORY!!! Paynter is a rare breed of Thoroughbred horse that has the determination, strength and heart. Paynter has beaten colitis, laminitis, and a nasty abscess and today we are proud of our special colt."
Zayat's tweets revealed that the 3-year-old colt's last set of diagnostics, performed Friday, showed "his temp is normal, his blood work is perfect, his feet are sound and healthy, his lungs sound great. All in all we have a very happy and healthy horse. He has gained an additional 11 pounds in the last two days on top of the 24 pounds before that. his medical team is very confident of his full recovery."

Paynter underwent surgery Oct. 3 to remove a 35-centimeter area of abscessed tissue from his cecum, a pouch in the horse's large intestine. Paynter has been hospitalized since Aug. 26, when he was admitted to the Upstate Equine Medical Clinic in Schuylerville, N.Y., with fever and diarrhea that veterinarians diagnosed as colitis. He later showed early signs of laminitis in three legs, but he recovered from that with aggressive treatment.

Before that, Paynter first showed signs of illness two days after his July 29 Haskell victory, when he shipped to New Jersey's Mid-Atlantic Equine Medical Center with what his connections later said they believed was pneumonia. He developed diarrhea but that improved, and he returned to light training with Bob Baffert two weeks later, only to enter the Upstate Equine Medical Clinic Aug. 26.