Grade 1 Haskell Invitational star Paynter, who underwent intestinal surgery at New Bolton Center October 3, will be discharged Sunday, owner Ahmed Zayat reported on Twitter Friday. Having overcome life-threatening illnesses that have kept him hospitalized since August 26, the strong-willed colt will now take up residence at a rehabilitation facility.
"Breaking news!!! Paynter has won the war," Zayat announced. "Dear fans, thank you very much for all your prayers and thoughts and good vibes.
"Our Paynter this brave warrior. Has taken on A LOT of battles and today on his behalf and the behalf of his skillful vet team, we are declaring VICTORY!!!
"Paynter is a rare breed of Thoroughbred horse that a has the determination, strength and heart. Paynter has beaten colitis, laminitis and a nasty abscess and today we are proud of our special colt.
"Today (we've) done our last set of diagnostics. His temp is normal, his blood work is perfect, his feet are sound and healthy, his lungs sound great. All in all we have a very happy and healthy horse.
"He has gained an additional 11 pounds in the last two days on top of the 24 pounds before that. His medical team is very confident of his full recovery.
"Plans are being finalized today for Paynter to leave New Bolton Medical Center on Sunday to go back into a rehab layup facility for the next two-three months and then finally return to the track where he loves and belongs. We should all continue to hope for a full recovery and to see our champ happy and healthy for 2013 racing calendar!!
"We have narrowed down the choices to three rehab centers. I am very nervous for him to leave all his beloved vets, but my tears of joy will only make it worth it when I know he will have the right farm taking care of him.
"I have personally called and interviewed all these farms. A decision will be announced at 6 p.m. today."
Zayat duly made the decision and told Claire Novak of The Blood-Horse that Paynter would go to the Fair Hill Equine Therapy Center near Elkton, Maryland.
The colt is expected to spend three to four weeks there. Then plans call for him to ship to WinStar Farm near Versailles, Kentucky, where he will be in rehabilitation for another two to three months.
Paynter first spiked a fever a couple of days after his stunning victory in the July 29 Haskell, where he laid claim to the title of the leading three-year-old colt still in training. The Bob Baffert pupil spent more than a week at an equine clinic in New Jersey before shipping to New York. Resuming training at Saratoga, Paynter became seriously ill with fever and diarrhea.
The son of Awesome Again was transported to Upstate Equine Medical Center in Schuylerville, New York, and diagnosed with colitis. After taking a turn for the worse, he rallied and appeared to be winning his battle, only to suffer the complication of laminitis. Paynter once again responded to treatment, and overcame another potentially fatal illness.
Although his condition was improving, the colt continued to have fever. His veterinary team at Schuylerville -- headed by Dr. Laura Javsicas -- discovered an abscessed area of his colon, and recommended transfer to New Bolton in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, for further evaluation and specialized care.
After extensive consultation with specialists, surgery was performed to remove the abscessed section of Paynter's colon, and he has made great strides in his recovery.