03/12/2013 2:16PM

Santa Anita: Paynter among top runners readying for comeback races

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Barbara D. Livingston
Paynter, seriously ill after winning last year's Haskell, has worked out three times in recent weeks for trainer Bob Baffert.

Several top-class runners had workouts Monday at Santa Anita as they neared a return from lengthy layoffs, chief among them Paynter, who went a half-mile in 48.40 seconds in his third timed drill since his return to training for Bob Baffert.

Paynter has not raced since winning the Haskell last summer at Monmouth. Soon thereafter, he became seriously ill and spent time in three different equine hospitals before recovering.

Amazombie, the Eclipse Award-winning sprinter of 2011, worked five furlongs in 1:01 for trainer Bill Spawr as he nears his first start of the year. Amazombie has not raced since finishing eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Santa Anita. He is expected to return to action next month, either at Santa Anita in the Potrero Grande on April 6 or at Oaklawn Park in the Count Fleet on April 13.

Obviously, who turned into one of the circuit’s elite turf milers last year, had his first work of the year, traveling three furlongs in 37 seconds for trainer Mike Mitchell. The winner of the Arroyo Seco Mile last fall at Santa Anita and the Del Mar Mile, Obviously has been on vacation since a terrific third-place finish behind Wise Dan and Animal Kingdom in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.

◗ The promising 3-year-old filly Midnight Lucky, a dazzling debut winner Feb. 16 for Baffert, worked five furlongs in 1:00 on Tuesday at Santa Anita. Her next start has yet to be determined.