Paynter gives trainer sixth HaskellJul 29, 2012 - 11:03 PM Oceanport, NJ (Sports Network) - Even-money favorite Paynter ran away down the stretch in winning Sunday's $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park. The victory is the third in a row for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert and sixth overall in the 1 1/8 mile stakes.
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.
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