08/13/2012 3:35PM

Saratoga: Paynter targeting Pennsylvania Derby or Jockey Club Gold Cup

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Tom Keyser
Paynter will miss a planned start in the Travers Stakes, his owner announced Monday.

Hoping against hope that his horse could make the Travers, Zayat finally let go of the dream Monday morning, announcing on Twitter that Paynter would not make the race.

Paynter, who spent more than a week in a New Jersey veterinary clinic, arrived at Belmont Park on Friday. On Monday, he began walking under tack, the first time he’s had a saddle on his back since the Haskell on July 29.

Zayat finally realized that by pushing Baffert into running Paynter in the Travers it would likely compromise the colt’s chances for any success the remainder of the year.

“It’s not the right thing to do,” Zayat said.

Zayat said that Paynter could make his next start in either the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing on Sept 22 or the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont on Sept. 29. Paynter did run a huge race in the Belmont Stakes, leading all the way before getting run down by Union Rags.

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Charles Berger More than 1 year ago
The Pennsylvania Derby is the route to go if you are looking out for what's in the best interest of the horse. Paynter is a nice horse, but not ready for his elders in the Gold Cup
Ronnie Malo Rodriguez More than 1 year ago
Couldn't disagree more. He's not gonna get anything out of running against 3 year olds Its a normal progression for 3 year olds to run against elders, Its a perfect prep before the classic. He likes the track. Most of the big guns in the JC will probably run in the Woodward.
DrSmoke120 More than 1 year ago
Ya know with all these million dollar purses floating around, you have to wonder what a real racehorse, and Affirmed or other solid, sound colt would have accumulated in lifetime earnings. If a horse like Paynter had the constituution of these horses of 30 years ago he would have filled his saddlebags with the Haskell, Travers, PA Derby, and Breeders Cup and maybe one more to boot. In an era of what have you done for me lately it is hard to get excited about any of these guys with all the ducking going on.
DrSmoke120 More than 1 year ago
Once again a bunch of classic also rans or never rans for the Travers. Don't know why they pit up a million year after year when nobody shows up, either by design or bad fortune. What a shame. Long for the days like in '87 when all the big boys showed up to slug it out in the slop. That was a million dollar race!
sat.customer More than 1 year ago
Your post is right on.Awful race again.Gr 3 field at best.
Mrblacklightnin More than 1 year ago
Ship him to Louisiana for the Super Derby!!
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
I believe Baffert is in a tough spot. Paynter has had a tough year. Shipping and running obviously effects him adversly. He seems to run big but get knocked out physically. So why not go the easier route in Pa. Then back off for a while. With all the traveling and running it's a lot to ask him to compete against older males that are rounding into form with each race. When owners get over involved it becomes a trainers nightmare. Everyone wants their horse running in the spotlight. It's vanity. At the horses expense. Paynter will be a great if he is handled properly. Let Baffert make the calls. He seems to have the credentials.
John Piassek More than 1 year ago
Yeah, it's really asking a lot of a race horse to, you know, race. And if he's "handled properly" per your definition, something tells me he won't have many chance to become an all-time great.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What the owners are trying to do is take a lightly raced 3 year old an win horse of the year by attempting to win THE JOCKEY CLUB GOLD CUP AND BREEDERS CUP CLASSIC. This colt was knocked out in two races..1 against UNION RAGS where he lost and 1 in THE TRAVERS where he became ill from the stresses of racing or whatever the reason. Sorry, but he has no shot of becoming an all-time great if he gets ruined. Even being trained at Belmont from here until THE GOLD CUP, he will not win..bank on that. So why not take the easy $ in Pennsylvannia then go back to California and rest. The older horses are too tough for him.
james More than 1 year ago
3yo old of the year is a done deal. Travers, PA Derby, BCC isn't going to beat SA Derby, KY Derby, Preakness
james More than 1 year ago
I meant Haskell, not Travers
DrSmoke120 More than 1 year ago
A tough year, like how many times did he run? Keep on breeding these porcelin china horses and watch racing keep skipping up the cable dial to oblivion. He will never be great. He will get his second G1 and head off to the stallion barn and the only time you will see him is in an ad for Three Chimneys on whatever channel Comcast/NBC sticks racing,
jon g More than 1 year ago
I see where Alternation beat Prayer For Relief. Now we all know the results would have been reversed had Baffert still trained PFF. But of course he would have come down with a "fever" right after the race. This pattern with Baffert smells to high heaven. I don't care how jovial or wisecracking he is,the guy is dirty.
JOHN CAPPER More than 1 year ago
Yeah, the rat bastard. He only runs then when he thinks they can win. Dirty, dirty trainer. TAKE UP GOLF, you moron.
Perl More than 1 year ago
What are you, three years old?
Perl More than 1 year ago
All of the successful trainers are stretching the rules. That's my guess. But Baffert still is a cool dog. I'd much rather toss back a few drinks with him than android Pletcher. Then again, Bob probably doesn't party as much after his heart attack.
JOHN CAPPER More than 1 year ago
Cogito
unmarx1 More than 1 year ago
tell us about Cogito. a Reddam horse from the U.K. ? how good is he ?
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Didn't Zayat tell you?
unmarx1 More than 1 year ago
jejune.
TheAPIndy More than 1 year ago
Only nine 3-year-olds have won the Jockey Club Gold Cup in the last 20 years. Five of them were far superior runners - Slew O' Gold, Easy Goer, Curlin, Bernardini, and Skin Away. Two are arguably better runners -- Mineshaft and Summer Bird. That leaves Miner's Mark and Albert the Great. Paynter will take the easy money at Parx.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
That's a whopping 45%, it means the race is ripe for taking for a 3yo.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
The Jockey Club Gold Cup is the right race to target if they want Paynter to run well in the BC Classic. It has been done before. In 2007, Curlin faced Lawyer Ron in the JCGC off his previous start in the Haskell 2 months ago. Lawyer Ron had just swept the Whitney and Woodward double and set the 9 furlong track record at Saratoga. If they follow the path of Lookin at Lucky in 2010 by not facing older horses before the BC Classic, Paynter is more likely to end up a tiring 4th like Lucky, who was equally talented but much more battle tested than Paynter at this point of his career.
John Piassek More than 1 year ago
I agree. Baffert should realize the precedent. Not to mention that the JCGC would give him an extra week to bounce back, and it's more prestigious in terms of year end honors and at the breeding shed.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
I can tell you do your homework and know history. I give you respect for that. But honestly, with Wise Dan (seemingly pointing towards classic even though turf mile looks better), Fort Larned, Flat Out, Ron The Greek, Game On Dude, Richard's KId, Alternation, Mucho Macho Man and others, Paynter has no shot at winning The Classic this year. SO why not take the easy $600,000 in Pennsylvannia and back off till Dubai??
Tiny Montgomery More than 1 year ago
Don't know about Dubai but I think you're right about the Classic, that would be a tough deal. Pennsylvania makes sense, even more so if they intend to keep him around next year.
John Piassek More than 1 year ago
So, because the Classic would be too tough for him, they should run him in the PA Derby, shut him down, and then run him in freakin' Dubai? Is it me?
Perl More than 1 year ago
None of those older horses are THAT fast. Fort Larned doesn't want 10f. Flat Out and RtG are plodding types who can only win if the race falls apart (I give RtG a legit shot at this scenario). Mucho Macho Man is very talented, but also highly questionable at 10f, as is Wise Dan. Dick's Kid is an interesting longshot as a late developing type, a la Pleasantly Perfect, but I think PP was more talented. Alternation is a cut below. That leaves Game On Dude, who is one gutsy animal, but certainly prefers 9f, I think, and is the type of horse who Paynter could put away, especially when he gets 5lbs, or do 3yo colts get 3lbs? Either way, if you look at the speed figs, I give Paynter a very legit shot at winning the BC Classic if he can recover from this break in training (a big if).
JOHN CAPPER More than 1 year ago
Paynter is within 4 lenghts of winning the classic right now, with room for improvement. Wise Dan id the clear leader, but won't improve. Paynter, I can see him getting a little better. These aren't robots, you know. Most people look at those Beyer Fids and think it is what it is. Paynter has a nice shot at the BC Classic. He has 10 more weeks to mature a little more and hasn't stopped getting better yet. What makes you think he has stopped improving. Certainly not that Haskell blowout.
Steve More than 1 year ago
Looking at Lucky had to face, much, much bettter horses than Paynter will see in the Classic. I don't really blame the seasoning on him faltering after trying to match strides with Zenyatta and Blame in deep stretch. The best setup for Paynter and a run at the classic should be the Goodwood. the Classic is at SA and he's already shipped a ton for such a lightly raced horse.
Jordan More than 1 year ago
My guess is that Baffert would have Game on Dude for the Goodwood. That horse won the race last year, and Santa Anita is his fave track. Paynter, on the other hand, has been traveling all year and has run 2 good races in the New York metro area, instilling confidence if they want to go the JCGC route with him.
Perl More than 1 year ago
I think there's a good chance Paynter is more talented than Lookin At Lucky. Also, he seems more capable of getting 10f than LaL who basically threw in the towel at the sixteenth pole of the Breeder's Cup Classic. Also, Paynter won't have to worry about facing the likes of Zenyatta and Blame. Then again, if the comparison is Curlin, I don't think Curlin had any issues (spiked fever etc) that summer and he was a fresh and ready horse in the fall. Obviously every horse is different, but I'm not sure I agree that a 3yo becomes a more viable BC Classic candidate if he gets a start against older horses under his belt. If Baffert can just get Paynter "right" then I believe he is the best 10f horse in training right now.
JOHN CAPPER More than 1 year ago
You are right. You don't get much seasoning running against straight 3 yo's. Getting thrown to the lions this time of year is what separates the good 3 yo's from the "good" 3 yo's. It is a double edged sword. Why face older when you can puck and choose from nice pots against straight 3 yo's, without ever having to face older. It doesn't affect your breeding payday, unless you have a chance at HOY. Then you are forced to take on older if you want the big payday after the BC when they all seem to retire. I don't fault any owner/trainer for going to "sheaper" races with bigger purses to duck the competition, but still get all the money. THEIR HORSES - THEIR CALL.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Glsad to see men with top horses doing right by the horse. Look forward to Pennsylvannia Derby. Taking on Ron The Greek on his home turf in The Jockey Club Gold Cup may be a tall order off the ailment. This colt has a great future.
JOHN CAPPER More than 1 year ago
The voice of reason.
Dave Schuler More than 1 year ago
why do fans make a BIG thing about these horses going here or there (Baffert is cagy @treats his horses right)Scoreboard Is What Counts-LOLK-DS
Dave Schuler More than 1 year ago
Baffert Is So Cagy (He Treats His Horses Right)They Dont Fade Last 1/16th +He Put M.Garcia Back Up-LOLK_DS