Ridden by Rafael Bejarano for the first time, Paynter stumbled at the start
and was forced to follow 2-1 second pick Gemologist around the first turn and
into the backstretch.
Gemologist, ridden by Javier Castellano, set the pace with Paynter to his
outside followed by Nonios, Handsome Mike. 7-2 third choice Dullahan and
Stealcase. With a half-mile to go Paynter drew even with Gemologist as Nonios
shifted to the outside.
Around the final turn Paynter took the lead from Gemologist with Nonios
gaining on the outside. At the top of the stretch Paynter had a clear lead as
Nonios took over second with Gemologist fading badly.
Owned by Zayat Stables, Paynter went on to record a 3 3/4 length win over
Nonios followed by Stealcase, Handsome Mike, Dullahan and Gemologist.
The time for the 45th Haskell over a fast track was 1:48.87.
Baffert did not make the trip from California to New Jersey as he is still
recovering from a heart attack when in Dubai this past March. The trainer adds
to his Haskell honor roll. Paynter follows the last two Haskell champs, Coil
(2011) and Lookin At Lucky (2010), from his trainer's barn. The other Haskell
winners trained by Baffert were Point Given (2001), War Emblem (2002) and
Roman Ruler (2005).
Paynter, the Belmont Stakes runner-up, picks up $600,000 with the win. The
three-year-old colt has career earnings of $952,224 with three wins in six
starts. He did not race as a two-year-old.
The colt finished fourth to I'll Have Another in the Santa Anita Derby on
April 7 and was second in the Derby Trial three weeks later.
Paynter returned $4.00, $2.60 and $2.40. Nonios, in his first dirt race, paid
$5.20 and $3.80, and Stealcase paid $5.00 to show.