08/31/2012 4:32PM

Paynter showing signs of improvement

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Tom Keyser
Paynter showed signs of improvement Friday at the Upstate Equine Clinic in Schuylerville, N.Y., where he is being treated for colitis.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – After some touch-and-go moments Thursday, Haskell winner Paynter was reported to have shown improvement Friday, according to his connections.

Justin Zayat, son of owner Ahmed Zayat, said Friday “was probably his best day” since Paynter had to be moved to the Upstate Equine Clinic in Schuylerville, N.Y. on Sunday, where he is being treated for colitis – an inflammation of the colon.

According to Zayat, Paynter’s white-blood cell count was 9,000 – close to normal – and the colt was eating.

“Everything right now is heading in the right direction,” Justin Zayat said. “We’re nowhere near out of the woods yet. We’re hoping by this weekend we’ll have better news.”

Zayat said the report from Dr. Laura Javsicas on Friday was “180 degrees” different than on Thursday when the Zayats – Justin, his brother Benjamin, and their father Ahmed – drove from New Jersey to visit the colt.

“When we were there, it wasn’t his best day,” Justin Zayat said. “He had his highest temperature – 104 – his white blood count was the lowest it’s been.”

Zayat said that Javsicas “thought it could be the end, if he didn’t improve” Friday.

When Paynter first arrived at the clinic, there were some concerns that laminitis, a deadly hoof disease, also could become an issue. However, Zayat said “his feet look 100 percent perfect,” according to a report he received from Javsicas.

Zayat said Paynter would run as a 4-year-old if he survives this illness.

“He’s no way being retired,” Zayat said. “We plan to bring him back racing if he’s 100 percent. If he survives, he’ll be the Paynter we all know.”

Paynter, trained by Bob Baffert, finished second in the Belmont Stakes, beaten a neck by Union Rags. He then romped to victory in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational on July 29 at Monmouth Park. Two days after the Haskell, Paynter contracted a fever that forced him to be sent to the Mid-Atlantic Equine Clinic in Ringoes, N.J., where he stayed for more than a week.

Following his release from the clinic, Paynter vanned to Belmont Park, where he resumed light training before being sent to Saratoga on Aug. 22. He was scheduled to have been flown back to Southern California on Aug. 27, but those plans were scrapped when he developed a fever the previous night.

AZ Wildcat More than 1 year ago
Colitis is really a tricky business and a lot of times what you do for the colitis makes it worse. This horse is not out of the woods at all!
Ponies Payme More than 1 year ago
Last week - all megative comments about Paynter. This week all positive. Does anyone here have any morals inside them. My God, i hiope the horse doesn't get a tickle in his throat. WWIII will break out on Baffort for adding too much water to his diet or something. Gotta love the know-it-alls. VERY entertaining.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Careful, PP, your one dimension is showing...
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
I am happy to hear Paynter's temperature is down this morning. I hope the diarrhea ends very soon and Paynter's appetite returns to robustness. My prayers will continue for him. Keep on fighting, Paynter! You've done an excellent job! Much thanks to Paynter's Dr. Javsicas and medical team for the fine job they have done on Paynter's behalf. We are grateful for their skills.
unmarx1 More than 1 year ago
As of Sat. night per Zayat, temp down to 100.3 (normal) everything else good except still some diarrhea and appetite wasn't as good as day before. "still a long way to go", but if diarrhea ends and appetite is good, it would be looking quite good.
Anne Shaw More than 1 year ago
Go Paynter. You are loved. Prayers will continue. But when you feel better you will be glad you fought so hard. God Bless you, your "people", and your medical team. L love to hear of people like the Zayats and Dr. Hansen to whom you are a beloved pet rather than a meal ticket. Sure your wonderful trainer and groom, all who assisted in your life are praying hard as well.
ctgreyhound More than 1 year ago
That fighting spirit carries over from the track. Good job, Paynter!
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
Hang in there Big Guy! As long as Paynter is fighting, so should you all. Thanx to the team for not giving up.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
Fabulous news that Paynter is doing better! This news must have made the day for his connections. It's good to know the Zayat family made the trip to New York to visit Paynter, that must have made Paynter's day when he saw familiar faces. I'm grateful Paynter has had the excellent treatment he has received from Dr. Javsicas. She seems to be a top notch veterinarian. I'm also grateful to read the words "his feet look 100 perfect." about Paynter. Beautiful words! Never underestimate the power of prayer, good thoughts and positive thinking. I'm sure all of the prayers and good thoughts offered by members of this community and all those who are fans of Paynter helped, This is the best news I've received in days. I will continue to pray for Paynter and I hope others will as well. He's not out of the woods yet, Paynter still has lots of work to do to totally beat this illness, but this is a huge step in the right direction. Continue to get heal and get better, Paynter. Keep up the great work! We're all still standing with you in this challenge. We hope to hear even better news about your progress tomorrow.
laura ban More than 1 year ago
Never give up, even when it looks like there's no hope. Paynter knew his people were going all out for him, loving him through this hard time and he responded with amazing strength! Courage and a team effort made the difference.
Joyce Johnson Groome More than 1 year ago
I think when the Zayat's showed up it seemed to be the turning point in his recovery! I would be sleeping in his stall...no matter what!