Paynter to Undergo Surgery at New Bolton

Operation on abscess of cecum in Haskell Invitational winner scheduled for Oct. 3.

Haskell Invitational (gr. I) winner Paynter  will undergo surgery on an abscess of the cecum Oct. 3 at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine's New Bolton Center, owner Ahmed Zayat reported the evening of Oct. 2.

The surgery on the Zayat Stables runner, who has been battling colitis since late August, is scheduled to take place at 9:00 a.m. EDT and is expected to last around three hours, Zayat said, with a recovery period of about an hour and a half.

The 3-year-old colt was transferred to New Bolton in Kennett Square, Pa., from Upstate Equine Medical Center in Schuylerville, N.Y., around 3:15 p.m. the afternoon of Oct. 2. He had been hospitalized in New York since the week of Aug. 26 while battling colitis, an often-fatal infection of the colon.

"Paynter was greeted by a team of special vets under the leadership of Louise Southwood, who is a colitis specialist and an intestine surgeon," Zayat said via Twitter Oct. 2. "They have conducted ... thorough and full diagnostics and procedure ... a team of ultrasound specialists and internal medicine specialists discussed all their findings and found out that they can help him surgically."

Zayat went on to add that the infection and abscess have been confined to one area in the colt's cecum, the best possible location to have an abscess of that nature.

"You would want it in that area," Zayat tweeted. "The cecum is the appendix but not vestigial as it is in people, which means that surgery would definitely help him. It is in an area where it can be opened up and removed and clean the infection that has been the cause of his fevers. They also confirmed that the colon has started healing, in fact, they were happy all in all with most of his intestine and the repair that has been healing in his colon."

The son of Awesome Again  was also fighting a case of laminitis which occurred in three feet while he was in upstate New York, but he appears to have beaten the condition, which was treated quickly and aggressively.

"They were extremely pleased with his feet condition," Zayat tweeted of the opinion of New Bolton veterinarians. "The bloodwork was significantly improved. They were pretty happy with his appetite. After serious and long-debated discussions, and (after) consultation with no less than 12 different specialists, I feel extremely comfortable, calm and at peace with myself for giving them my approval and the green light to go ahead and operate on Paynter."

Zayat went on to ask for prayers for the colt, who has developed a large fan base of concerned individuals monitoring his status as he remains hospitalized.

"I feel Paynter has fought a lot of battles; he needs to win the war," Zayat said. "Count my words, fans, Paynter is a warrior ... our warrior and champion will win the war. I ask you for your prayers ... please, God, deliver him a speedy recovery."

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, the Bob Baffert trainee finished second by a neck to Union Rags  after showing the way in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).