Paynter will make his next start in the Illinois Derby.

Paynter will make his next start in the Illinois Derby.

Benoit Photo

Paynter to Make Next Start in Illinois Derby

Zayat Stables colt will make his second career start in grade II race at Hawthorne.

Zayat Stables’ Paynter , who broke his maiden in his career debut going 5 ½ furlongs Feb. 18, will make his next start in the April 7 Illinois Derby (gr. II), said owner Ahmed Zayat.

The son of Awesome Again , out of Tiznow’s full sister Tizso, captured his first start by 4 1/4 lengths in 1:02.98 for trainer Bob Baffert.

As to whether Paynter has the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) in his sights, Zayat said, “We don't want to get ahead of ourselves. He is doing super and we feel he could be any kind. Right now we are pointing for the Illinois Derby. After that, we’ll let the horse tell us.”


The owner purchased Paynter, formerly named M C’s Dream, for $325,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale.


Zayat also has Kentucky Derby hopefuls Bodemeister , second in the San Felipe (gr. II), and Z Dager, second in the Lecomte Stakes (gr. III) and third in the Risen Star Stakes (gr. II). The owner has twice finished second in the Kentucky Derby, with Pioneerof the Nile in 2009 and Nehro in 2011.