Paynter prepares for Haskell exhibit
Oceanport, NJ (Sports Network) - Belmont Stakes runner-up Paynter may be just a substitute, but trainer Bob Baffert still has an excellent chance with the colt to win his third straight $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on July 29.
Baffert's top three-year-old Bodemeister spiked a fever recently which put him off a start in the 1 1/8 mile Haskell. Filling in for the Kentucky Derby and Preakness runner-up will be Paynter who worked Wednesday morning at Del Mar.
Owned by Zayat Stables, Paynter breezed six furlongs in 1:13.20 on Del Mar's synthetic track. The colt has only raced on real dirt surfaces, however, posting two wins and a pair of seconds in five career starts for $352,224.
Baffert has won the Haskell a record five times, including the last two years with Coil in 2011 and Lookin At Lucky the year before. The Hall of Fame conditioner previously won the race with Point Given (2001), War Emblem (2002) and Roman Ruler (2005).
Earlier in the week, Wood Memorial champ Gemologist had a five furlong work on Saratoga's dirt training track. The colt went 1:00.88 for trainer Todd Pletcher.
Pletcher and WinStar Farm, which owns Gemologist, combined to capture the Haskell in consecutive years with Bluegrass Cat (2006) and Any Given Saturday (2007).
Gemologist has not started since his 16th place finish in the Kentucky Derby on May 5, his lone loss. A winner of his first five career starts, the colt has banked $784,855.
Defeated Belmont Stakes favorite Dullahan is on target for the 1 1/8 mile stakes. Trainer Dale Romans has been getting the Blue Grass Stakes winner ready at Churchill Downs and is looking forward to the Monmouth race.
"He's doing great," said Romans. "He's going to work tomorrow (Saturday) and everything is good. He'll ship in to Monmouth next week but I'm not sure yet on what day. He's going to be very live in there."
Dullahan, who finished third to I'll Have Another in the Kentucky Derby, was seventh in the Belmont Stakes behind Union Rags. Owned by Donegal Racing, the chestnut colt has won two of 10 lifetime starts for $1,072,091.
07/20 13:54:28 ET