Paynter The One to Watch in The San Diego

Category : News - Fri 26/07/2013 - 14:00 EDT

The feel-good comeback story of Paynter moves into its next chapter on Saturday at Del Mar, as the Bob Baffert-trained former Grade I winner will try to capture the Grade II $200,000 San Diego Handicap. Pegged as a potential superstar early in his career, Paynter finished second to Union Rags in the 2013 Belmont Stakes, and then raced to victory in the 2012 Haskell Invitational. He then fell ill with a serious case of laminitis and colitis, and for several weeks last fall his connections feared for his life.

Allowance win sets the stage for graded-stakes try

After spending most of three months under veterinary care, Paynter pulled through, and was able to return to training last December.  He made his return to the races in a June allowance race at Hollywood Park and scored an easy 4 ½ length victory. Now the four-year-old son of Awesome Again is looking to get back in the graded-stakes winner’s circle in the San Diego. He currently sports a record of four wins and two seconds from seven lifetime starts. A winning ride in the San Diego will put his lifetime earnings over the $1 million mark.

Small but competitive field going to the post

He’ll be facing five others in the 1 1/16 miles San Diego, including a handful of graded-stakes winners. Two to watch will be Clubhouse Ride and Liaison, who battled to a one-two finish in the Grade II California Stakes at Hollywood, after which Clubhouse Ride finished fourth in the Hollywood Gold Cup. Liaison, meanwhile, skipped the Gold Cup to take dead aim at the San Diego. Also in the field is expected to be Kettle Corn, second in the Gold Cup, and Chief Havoc, winner of the Grade II Swaps Stakes. Batti Man rounds out the field.

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