Racehorse who Overcame Laminitis Returns to Racing

Racehorse who Overcame Laminitis Returns to Racing

Paynter will make his first start since overcoming a life-threatening illness today at Betfair Hollywood Park.

Photo: Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO

By Claire Novak & Jack Shinar

Paynter, the Thoroughbred racehorse who overcame a serious illness and a bout of laminitis, will return to the races later today in California.

The 4-year-old son of Awesome Again will make his first start since last July for trainer Bob Baffert in a seven-furlong allowance event at Betfair Hollywood Park, in Inglewood. Paynter will face seven opponents as the 124-pound co-highweight with Rafael Bejarano aboard. It is the seventh race on the program with a 4 p.m. PDT post time.

"He is as healthy a horse as you want to come into the race," said owner Ahmed Zayat.

Paynter was sidelined from racing after winning last year's Haskell Invitational when he spiked a temperature at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J. The colt was sent to a New Jersey clinic, then at the Upstate Equine Medical Center in New York, and finally at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center for surgery to remove an abscessed area of his colon Oct. 3. During the illness, Paynter developed and recovered from a bout of laminitis, among other medical struggles. He recovered in Maryland at Fair Hill Equine Therapy and returned to Baffert's West Coast string Dec. 29.

"He hasn't run since the Haskell, it's a start. We have been trying to find the right spot," Zayat said of the 2012 winner of the Secretariat Vox Populi Award. "We are very excited but I can't tell you how nervous I am. I'm very proud of him, I'm so happy we got him a race."

Paynter has been in regular training with Baffert since April.

"I would never have dreamed when we went to the clinic that we'd ever see him in a race again," Baffert said. "He's just an amazing animal, probably the toughest horse I've ever been around in my life. It's incredible what he's been through and what he looks like now."

A $325,000 purchase at the 2010 Keeneland September yearling sale, Paynter was bred in Kentucky by Diamond A Racing Corp. He is out of the Cee's Tizzy mare Tizso.

Originally published on BloodHorse.com.

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