Updated on 08/11/2012 11:18AM

Paynter went to medical clinic; status for Travers in jeopardy

Nikki Sherman
Paynter was sent to the Mid-Atlantic Equine Medical Center in Ringoes, N.J., after his Haskell victory.

DEL MAR, Calif. – Paynter, who became ill within 48 hours of his powerful victory in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on July 29, left that track July 31 bound for the Mid-Atlantic Equine Medical Center in Ringoes, N.J., according to the required paperwork filed in the Monmouth Park stall office when he left the premises, an employee of the stall office said Wednesday.

The Mid-Atlantic Equine Medical Center is located approximately 60 miles west of Monmouth Park. According to the center’s website, one of the services offered is internal medicine.

The current condition of Paynter, and his whereabouts, have been difficult to ascertain in recent days, because his connections have refused to disclose detailed information.

On Tuesday, in response to inquiries regarding Paynter to both Justin Zayat and owner Ahmed Zayat, Justin Zayat, who works closely with his father, Ahmed, said on Twitter that Paynter “is not dying or retiring.” Justin Zayat also said Paynter “is healthy and sound” and added that the colt would be “training at Belmont this weekend,” but would not divulge his current whereabouts.

Bob Baffert, who trains Paynter, on Tuesday referred all inquiries to the Zayats, but joked that Paynter was “at a spa in New Jersey, getting his nails done.”

Tuesday evening, Justin Zayat posted a picture of his father riding a horse on a merry-go-round at Disneyland with the caption, “I found paynter!!!!!!!”

Paynter originally was scheduled to fly back to California on July 31 to train at Del Mar in preparation for the Travers Stakes. But after taking ill, he stayed on the East Coast. In the immediate aftermath of that news, Baffert said, and the Zayats posted on Twitter, that Paynter would head to Saratoga the following weekend to prepare for the Travers. But Baffert added that if Paynter did not make the Travers, the Pennsylvania Derby – like the Travers a $1 million race – Sept. 22 at Parx Racing would be the backup plan.

Last weekend came and went without Paynter heading to Saratoga.

Tonja Terranova, the wife of trainer John Terranova, often oversees Baffert’s horses when they are on the East Coast. She is at Belmont Park this summer, which is where Justin Zayat said Paynter was headed this weekend.

Baffert on Wednesday afternoon on Twitter said Paynter would be “released from Spa Friday.”

Regardless, Paynter apparently has not done any serious training since the Haskell and was sick enough to go to a medical clinic, and the Travers is now a little more than two weeks away, so that race is obviously in jeopardy.