Updated on 08/02/2012 2:22PM

Paynter spikes fever, putting Travers appearance in jeopardy

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Bill Denver/Equi-Photo
Paynter wins the Grade 1 Haskell at Monmouth Park.

DEL MAR, Calif. – Paynter, who was an overpowering winner of the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on Sunday, had an elevated temperature on Tuesday morning and, as a result, was not put on a scheduled flight back to California. His participation in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 25 is now in jeopardy, trainer Bob Baffert said Tuesday morning at Del Mar.

Baffert said that instead of flying Paynter back to California, he will send him by van to Saratoga, likely toward the end of the week. Regardless, he will not make any plans until he sees how Paynter is doing.

“I’ve got to get him well first,” Baffert said.

Paynter’s situation is similar to that of Lookin At Lucky, who won the Haskell for Baffert in 2010 and spiked a temperature coming out of the race. As a result, he skipped the Travers and did not race again Oct. 2 of that year in the Indiana Derby, which he won. Lookin At Lucky then finished fourth in that year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic against older horses.

Baffert said if Paynter does miss the Travers, a race like the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby on Sept. 22 at Parx would be a possibility. Baffert already is planning on being at Parx that day with Eden’s Moon, his 3-year-old filly who is to be pointed to the $1 million Cotillion Stakes after competing next in the Del Mar Oaks.

Paynter’s win in the Haskell was his first stakes win. He had previously finished second in the Belmont Stakes to Union Rags. In the Haskell, Paynter received a Beyer Speed Figure of 108.

Baffert still plans on having Liaison in the Travers. He finished third in the Jim Dandy on Saturday at Saratoga and is remaining there to train.

Baffert’s only Travers win came with Point Given in 2001.

Paynter would be the likely favorite in the Travers, but if he does not run, favoritism might fall to Alpha, the Jim Dandy winner.

Nonios, who was second to Paynter in the Haskell, also was scheduled to fly back to California along with Paynter, but his travel also is being delayed owing to Paynter’s situation. Both 3-year-olds are at Monmouth Park. Nonios is trained by Jerry Hollendorfer.