The 3-year-old son of Awesome Again covered the five furlongs under exercise rider Simon Harris in :59.26, the fastest of 38 recorded works at the distance.
“He worked nice,” said Jim Barnes, assistant to Baffert. “We were planning on the main track, but they sealed the main track, so we opted for the training track. They went out at 9:30, after the second (track maintenance) break. Bob told me to go in a minute, and that’s about as close to a minute as I can get.”
Paynter easily broke his maiden going 5 ½ furlongs at Santa Anita Park in February, and in his next start finished a respectable fourth behind I'll Have Another in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I). He followed that effort with a runner-up finish behind Hierro in The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial (gr. III) at Churchill Downs. Eight days ago, he posted a front-running 1 1/16-mile allowance victory at Pimlico.
“Bob told me to get the work out of the way today,” said Barnes. “He ran eight days ago, but we’re dealing with weather. They’re expecting more rain tonight than they got today, so what’s another day? The horse’s energy level is great, and he’s lightly raced. He’s only run four times, and he’s got to go a mile and a half. You train him a little differently than you train a horse that’s already gone through the Triple Crown races.
"Just to get to the Triple Crown races is grueling enough as it is. Can he go a mile and half? None of them have, so you really don’t know, but you’re hoping. Pedigree says he should and I definitely think we brought a fresh horse here, so that’s going to help.”
Bred in Kentucky by Diamond A Racing Corp., Paynter was purchased for $325,000 at the 2010 Keeneland September yearling sale.