01/05/2013 8:40PM

Santa Anita: Paynter resumes training following life-threatening illness

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Barbara D. Livingston
Paynter jogged at Santa Anita on Saturday morning for trainer Bob Baffert.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Paynter, who has not raced since taking ill following last year’s Haskell Invitational, returned to the track for training at Santa Anita on Saturday morning, the first steps toward what months ago seemed like an improbable comeback.

Paynter had to be hospitalized in clinics on the East Coast, once immediately following the Haskell, and then anew after becoming seriously ill a month later at Saratoga. But after months of rehabilitation, and apparently staving off laminitis, he has returned to training.

Baffert said he took the shoes off Paynter on Saturday morning before training so he could examine his feet.

“I was a little leery, but he looked good,” he said.

Thus satisfied, Paynter went out for a jog after being re-shod.

“What an amazing journey it’s been,” Baffert said. “He’s a tough horse."

In addition to his victory in the Haskell, Paynter was second to Union Rags in last year's Belmont Stakes.

Paul F More than 1 year ago
get back to post..... soon.......cant wait..
Jade Sword More than 1 year ago
Paynter, may I call you Anikulapo? It means 'he who carries death in his pouch.' From the great musician Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Will be rooting for you every step of the way.
Margi Foley More than 1 year ago
Someone commented earlier about Paynter racing at the end of the Santa Anita meet and that he would have to make his first start in California or there would be a riot. First of all, the SA meeting will close in 3 months + maybe a week. It's absurd to think that Paynter will run in a race before that. I will be surprised if we see a real work or breeze from him until sometime in March. Even a race at Hollywood is a stretch, in my opinion, and I'm not sure they would want to run him on the Del Mar poly (keep in mind that Hollywood's Cushion Track is as close to dirt as any surface could be that isn't dirt). As far as the California thing goes, Paynter is NOT regional any longer. His two huge career performances both came on east coast tracks, and after that, his life-and-death struggle which, by the way, happened on the east coast, captivated the entire horseracing nation. If Paynter progresses, God willing, in his journey back to the races, it won't matter a whit to anyone where it happens. And that's coming from someone who has Santa Anita about a 15-minute walk from her front door! Ahmed Zayat went through a horrible ordeal with Paynter, a horse that he and his family obviously love, and he could have put both he and his horse out of their misery with a needle. He didn't. Something told him that, as long as Paynter's discomfort could be managed by outstanding veterinary technology, care, and love, and as long as the horse continued to show courage and will in the battle, he had to be given a chance. He was. If he never makes it back to the starting gate, the battle is still won. If he does, it's only so much gravy......and more gravy than most anybody thought possible.
Wendy Parrish More than 1 year ago
Is the above picture recent? He looks terrific.
Ponies Payme More than 1 year ago
Here we go again......... Everyone here that thinks Paynter should be retired because he went through so much should inject themselves with cancer and then have it fester for a year (relivent time to a horses life vs Paynters desease) Then get lots of Chemotheropy and for the ones that survive, DON'T YOU DARE ENJOY YOUR LIFE..........JUST REFRAIN FROM DOING THE THINGS YOU LOVE TO DO MOST IN LIFE, wheather it be shopping, fishing sex or whatever. This is what you are telling them to do with Paynter. Horses are bred to run and they enjoy it more than eating hay.
neigh sayer More than 1 year ago
So are you saying if his favorite thing is having sex, he should be retired?
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Hey Pony....Pop up a day late, just like your picks. Maybe next Sunday?
russell More than 1 year ago
Pony man this is ignorance. A horse isn't a car or machine. Yes horses are bred to run but there is a limit.
Ann Maree More than 1 year ago
Yes, but you are not the appointed gate-keeper for what those limits are...others more qualified are making those decisions, those who are in a better position to know what is best.
Jeffries Will More than 1 year ago
exactly, until u buy him, leave those decisions to mr zayat!!! who made u king?
Mark More than 1 year ago
Union Rags
Robert Walton More than 1 year ago
There's no way they're going to push him his first race back, so don't place a win wager on him. I'll bet him his second race back, though. What a horse, and what a job they did medically. Love this story.
Barry Mitchell More than 1 year ago
Late Santa Anita Allowance race ? or feature race at Betfair. Nothing Back east or all of Southern California will riot
Mike Barker More than 1 year ago
horse was on his death bed twice, so lets put him back in training lol...
Dawood K More than 1 year ago
John Howland, I have a little piece of history for you to read in your reply.