Tuesday, 31 July 2012
: Trainer Bob Baffert captured his sixth win in the G1 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on Sunday when Paynter rebounded from his heart-breaking loss in the Belmont Stakes last month.
Paynter romped to victory in the $1 million event with Rafael Bejarano riding the colt for the first time.
Baffert, with more victories in the 45-year-old Haskell than any other trainer, has a perfect records with his past six starters in the race.
He won for the first time in 2001 with Point Given followed by War Emblem (2002), Roman Ruler (2005) and the last three in succession with Lookin At Lucky
(2010), Coil (2011) and Paynter.
"When you win they always feel like the first one. They're all exciting and they never get old," said Baffert from his base in California.
He did not make the trip to New Jersey, turning over training duties to assistant Jim Barnes.
Barnes said Paynter will head back to California and be prepared for the G1 Travers Stakes at Saratoga on August 25.
Paynter was in control in the stretch and drew off impressively to win by more than three lengths.
Nonios was second with Stealcase running on for third.
Paynter, having his sixth lifetime start, collected his first graded stakes win after he nearly stole the Belmont Stakes on June 9 when he could not withstand the late charge of Union Rags, losing by a neck.
He began his career in February winning a maiden allowance at Santa Anita. Baffert showed his confidence in the colt putting him in the Santa Anita Derby for his next race where he finished fourth.
He was then second in the Derby Trial at Churchill Downs and in his final start prior to the Belmont Stakes he humbled an allowance field at Pimlico.
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