Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert worked Paynter and Liaison, marquee
candidates for Saturday’s San Diego Handicap, in tandem Sunday morning
and pronounced them both ready for Saturday’s $200,000 potential
stepping stone to the TVG Pacific Classic.
The two 4-year-old bay colts came out on the track at 8 a.m. as
scheduled, with Rafael Bejarano up on Paynter and Martin Garcia on
Liason. Garcia guided Liaison to the rail position, and the work started
just before the half-mile pole.
Liaison broke off two lengths in front of Paynter and the margin
remained about the same through a first quarter in :24 flat. Paynter
moved up alongside his workmate in the stretch and they were
head-and-head crossing under the finish line in :47.60. Paynter’s
individual time was :47.20 for the half.
Clocker Toby Turrell had them going to the clubhouse turn about a
length apart with Paynter getting the faster time, officially of :59.40
and Liason :59.60.
“Both horses went strong with Liason gaining a slight edge on the gallop out,” Turrell said.
It was the second work in company over the track for Liason and
Paynter. They went five furlongs on Monday, July 15, with Paynter
clocked in 1:00.40 and Liaison 1:00.60.
“Liaison worked good, looks good and is as ready as I can get him for
next week,” Baffert told owner Arnold Zetcher, who was alongside in the
grandstand to watch the exercise.
“They both went well,” Baffert said. “All systems are go. The plan is
to run them both in the San Diego if everything goes right.”