Woodward morning-line favorite Paynter got a look at Saratoga on Thursday morning with an easy gallop over the main track in preparation for Saturday's race.
by Ahmed Zayat and trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, the 4-year-old
Awesome Again colt arrived in Saratoga at 6:15 p.m. on Wednesday,
following a nearly 17-hour trip from California via Newark International
"Flying is a very easy deal for the horses," said Baffert's assistant, Jim Barnes. 'He flies easier than he vans, actually."
1 1/8-mile Woodward will be the first Grade 1 race for Paynter since he
won the Haskell Invitational last July at Monmouth Park. He developed a
fever out of that race which evolved into colitis and, ultimately,
laminitis in three of his four hooves.
tell you the truth, a year ago I didn't know where we were going to be
in a year's time. I'm happy to be where we're at, that's for sure,"
Barnes said. "He's come a long way. The recovery was a lot quicker than I
ever expected it to be. When he came back and ran his first race, he
was very full of himself."
showed plenty of energy upon his arrival, turning his head from side to
side and neighing loudly and often as Barnes walked him from the van to
his residence at trainer John Terranova's barn.
him. That's how he rolls," Barnes said. "He rolls with a lot of energy.
It isn't uncommon for him to act like that. He's normal, just how he
won a seven-furlong allowance on the Cushion Track at Betfair Hollywood
Park on June 14 in his comeback race, and followed up by running
second, beaten a half-length, in the Grade 2 San Diego over Del Mar's
Polytrack surface on July 27.
trains at Del Mar and he deals with the racetrack; he just doesn't move
over it as well as he does on dirt," Barnes said. "We're glad it all
worked out and we're here. When we ran him at Del Mar, so many people
showed up; even at Hollywood when he ran.
expect it will be the same, maybe even more of a following up here.
It's exciting. Racing needs something like this, to have people
interested in it and be excited about it."