Haskell Invitational (gr. I) winner Paynter, who has suffered many ailments while battling a serious case of colitis, was diagnosed Sept. 4 with one of the most devastating diseases for horses: laminitis.
"He has been diagnosed with our nightmare scenario of laminitis, and it seems it is rapidly progressing," owner Ahmed Zayat said via his Twitter account. "After taking additional X-rays of the foot and discussing with some foot experts, Dr. Laura (Javsicas) has found out that he has developed (laminitis) in three of his four legs, which is heartbreaking."
Laminitis is a painful and often fatal hoof disease that can be loosely described as inflammation of the hoof laminae, or the interlocking tissues that attach the hoof wall to the coffin bone within the hoof. In many cases, laminitis causes severe lameness and deterioration of the foot.
It was reported Sept. 3 that the next 24 hours would be critical in the recovery process for the ailing 3-year-old son of Awesome Again . Paynter already had an infection at a catheter site and also developed clotting in his veins as a result of low protein while battling colitis at Upstate Equine Medical Center in Schuylerville, N.Y.
The Zayat Stables runner was sent to the clinic the week of Aug. 26 after spiking a fever and suffering from diarrhea, the same symptoms he developed following a victory in the July 29 Haskell at Monmouth Park.
"Poor Paynter...I don't know how long he can fight this out so bravely without having pain and suffering," Zayat said following the laminitis diagnosis. "So far, Dr. Laura is very conscious of having his pain under control. But we need to look at all these problems.
"My deep concern is that he if is a healthy horse, he can fight laminitis since it is the beginning (of the disease), but to be a sick horse and fight all these issues all at once, it is asking for too much.
"We need to be compassionate and merciful and treat our star with the respect and love that he deserves while giving him the best chance in fighting for his life. Please pray. I am at loss in what the right thing to do is here, but I will leave it up to his caring and loving vet to decide the right courses of action."
Paynter, bred in Kentucky by Diamond A Racing Corp., is out of the Cee's Tizzy mare Tizso. He has three wins and two seconds from six starts, with earnings of $952,224.
Prior to the Haskell, Paynter, trained by Bob Baffert, finished second by a neck to Union Rags after showing the way in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).