Owner Ahmed Zayat has reported that his star three-year-old colt Paynter, whose condition had been improving over the weekend, sustained a couple of setbacks on Monday. The Grade 1 Haskell Invitational winner has been hospitalized since August 26 with a potentially life-threatening case of colitis, and other complications have set in.
Zayat updated Paynter's fans once again via his Twitter page, beginning his series of posts at approximately 6 p.m. (EDT):
"Paynter continues to fight bravely his colitis. Today has been a tough day.
"He is giving us mixed signals. While his appetite has improved and his temperature is normal. His blood work has been good. Today we had to deal with new issues that arose at the first time.
"He has developed an infection where the catheter is placed, and his angel Laura (Dr. Javsicas) was having a hard time finding an unswollen vein to insert it.
"It is important because this is where he gets his nutrients (and) medications.
"Other problem for the first time. He has developed some clotting in his blood veins as a result of low protein. We have been treating him with plasma.
"It has been an emotional tough day for Laura and myself as we are not dealing with issues that apply to comfort and pain. We need to be very careful of how to deal with those serious issues.
"I personally have ZERO tolerance for the word suffering. It is important that we give our warrior a chance to fight and battle his illness but also keeping our eye on our goal, which is to get him healthy and happy but not at any cost.
"Paynter has been good to all of us and we need to treat him with the love and dignity that he deserves. Laura and I and all his vets and @Midnightlute (trainer Bob Baffert's Twitter handle) are particularly conscious of that.
"We once again ask for your prayers as the next 24 hours will tell the tale. Please God give me the strength and the grace to do what's right with my horse and to give my vets the wisdom to make the right calls.
"And to bless Paynter with the courage to fight this very tough battle. #PowerUpPaynter."
Justin Zayat, Ahmed's son and racing manager, underscored the point."Next 24 hours is very important for Paynter. #keepfightingpaynter."
Paynter's current illness is believed to be unrelated to the fever that he spiked a couple of days after the July 29 Haskell, which prompted a stay at a New Jersey veterinary clinic. After his release, he stopped at Belmont Park before rejoining Baffert's team at Saratoga.
After resuming training there, Paynter came down with fever and diarrhea. He was admitted to the Upstate Equine Medical Center in Schuylerville, New York, where he has been waging a valiant battle for the past week.
Paynter, by Awesome Again and out of a full sister to Hall of Famer Tiznow, had developed into a top-class performer in a short time. A near-miss runner-up in the June 9 Belmont Stakes in only his fifth career start, he crushed the Haskell by 3 3/4 lengths in an effort that stamped him as the leading three-year-old colt still in training.