01/17/2013 3:34PM

Paynter's recovery voted NTRA Moment of the Year


Voters have selected Paynter’s recovery from health problems earlier this year as the National Thoroughbred Racing Association’s Moment of the Year, the NTRA announced Thursday.

Visitors to the NTRA’s website were offered 12 different racing events this year to choose for the Moment of the Year. Paynter’s recovery won with 27 percent of the vote, distancing I’ll Have Another’s win in the Preakness two weeks after he scored in the Kentucky Derby, which got 13 percent of the vote, according to the NTRA.

Paynter, trained by Bob Baffert and owned by Ahmed Zayat, was found to have colitis, a serious digestive disorder, shortly after winning the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational Stakes at Monmouth Park in July. While recovering from the illness, he was administered treatments to prevent the onset of laminitis.

Throughout the last five months of the year, Zayat and other family members used Twitter throughout the colt’s recovery to provide updates on the horse’s condition. He has been returned to Baffert’s barn and is preparing for a 2013 start.

Justin Zayat, Ahmed Zayat’s son, issued this tweet after the NTRA named the winner: “We are so so so happy!! My dad is sooo happy I never seen him jump so much! We did not expect that at all!”

Earlier this year, Paynter received the Vox Populi Award, administered by the connections of two-time Horse of the Year Secretariat. That award was determined by a combination of fan voting and input from a committee. Paynter was added to the list of eligible recipients for the award after an Internet campaign by his supporters.

The other moments up for the NTRA award were: Rosie Napravnik becoming the first female rider to win the Kentucky Oaks; I’ll Have Another’s Kentucky Derby win; the scratch of I’ll Have Another from the Belmont one day before the race; the dead heat of Alpha and Golden Ticket in the Travers; Royal Delta’s repeat win in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic; Groupie Doll’s runaway victory in the BC Filly and Mare Sprint; Shanghai Bobby’s win in the BC Juvenile; Wise Dan’s win in the BC Mile; Fort Larned’s win in the BC Classic; and Shackleford’s win in the Clark Handicap.