Paynter, who came down with an illness following his victory in the Grade 1
Haskell Invitational, won't make the Grade 1 Travers Stakes on August 25, owner
Ahmed Zayat announced via Twitter Monday.
The Bob Baffert pupil spiked a fever while still at Monmouth Park, just a couple of days after his impressive 3 3/4-length triumph on July 29. The setback delayed his scheduled shipment back to California. As Jay Privman of Daily Racing Form later discovered, Paynter was so sick that he was sent to the Mid-Atlantic Equine Medical Center in New Jersey.
Paynter was released from the clinic Friday and then vanned to Belmont Park.
Zayat, who had been hoping that the talented colt could recover in time for the "Midsummer Derby," was persuaded to give him more time. He posted the following messages on his Twitter page (@jazz3162) on Monday:
"Paynter update. Tack walked again. @JustinZayat (his son and racing manager) and Ben went training with Bob Baffert at Del Mar. Bob told Justin tell your dad to trust me.
"This colt is special. Let's not run him in Travers. He won't be ready in time. Too close. Will never go against my trainers word. Especially
"When it comes to Bob Baffert. NO TRAVERS FOR PAYNTER."
Baffert also commented on the decision.
"We talked yesterday and this morning about it," Baffert said from Del Mar. "It was going to be tough. I wouldn't be able to get a work into him, and it would be too much. We'll just get him right and get him back to full steam and nominate him everywhere."
By Awesome Again and out of a full sister to Hall of Famer Tiznow, Paynter has made rapid progress since beginning the year as an unraced maiden. Fourth in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby fresh off his debut win, he next finished second in the Grade 3 Derby Trial.
Paynter turned the corner with a 5 3/4-length allowance romp on the Preakness undercard. He nearly wired the June 9 Belmont Stakes, being caught only by the rail-skimming Union Rags in the final strides.
By moving forward again to dominate the Haskell, Paynter stated his case to rank as the leading three-year-old in training, in the wake of the retirements of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I'll Have Another and Belmont victor Union Rags.
Stablemate and fellow Zayat colorbearer Bodemeister, the Derby and Preakness runner-up, has himself been sidelined by illness this summer.
Zayat responded to a Twitter inquiry regarding Bodemeister's status Monday, noting that "he is not training well!!"