2012 Haskell Invitational winner Paynter took yet another step towards one of the most amazing Horse Racing comeback stories I’ve ever heard in 34 years of covering the sport.
The big, good looking son of Awesome Again went three furlongs in :36 seconds on Tuesday morning at Santa Anita for trainer Bob Baffert.
“He went nice, very nice,” Baffert said. “He’s training great. He looks great.”
Paynter, who finished second in the 2012 Belmont Stakes, has not raced since his Haskell Invitational win at Monmouth last summer. He became extremely ill immediately following that race and had to be sent to a veterinary clinic in New Jersey.
After recovering there, he became sick again (Colitis) and then developed the deadly hoof disease laminitis before amazingly regaining his health late last year.
Owned by Ahmed Zayat, Paynter was returned to Baffert’s barn on December 26. He started jogging in early January before progressing to daily gallops.
Baffert on Tuesday called Paynter’s comeback “a miraculous recovery.”
“I don’t see any effects from the illness,” Baffert added.
Baffert said was hoping to get Paynter on a “six- or seven-day work schedule,” but said any plans on a return race were “well in the future”.
Paynter’s recovery was also voted the National Thoroughbred Racing Association’s Moment of the Year for 2012 and rightfully so.