Haskell Invitational winner Paynter, who was diagnosed with laminitis Sept. 4, continues to make significant strides toward recovery and could even make a return to racing, according to the Zayat family.
"He had another great day yesterday," said Justin Zayat, racing and stallion manager of Zayat Stables, via Twitter Sept. 12.
Paynter, owned by Zayat Stables, was sent to a clinic the week of Aug. 26 after he spiked a fever and suffered from diarrhea. His condition worsened after he developed a life-threatening colon infection.
The Zayats' Twitter reports stated the 3-year-old son of Awesome Again no longer had a fever, his blood work had positive results, and he was walking around comfortably on his feet.
"He's enjoying his new variety of goodies and hay that he has been given and he went out again yesterday for grazing and play time," Ahmed Zayat tweeted. "All in all Dr. Laura [Javsicas] is very happy with his progress. Paynter has an amazing desire to beat all odds. He continues to fight real hard and he is winning. In fact, I am getting really upbeat about his total prognosis for a full recovery.
"I was very happy after my call with Dr. Larry Bramlage," Zayat continued, referencing the prominent equine veterinarian. "We sent him X-rays of Paynter's feet for his review and second opinion. Our conversation made me very hopeful. He confirmed to us what other vets have told us that the X-rays look great. There is no sign of rotation or separation or sinking in his feet. In fact, [Bramlage] was very encouraged and 'pleasantly surprised' by those images.
"[Bramlage] told me he believed, based on what he saw, that if the colt continues to improve there is no reason why he shouldn't return to a full recovery as a racehorse and that in his opinion he has all chances to race again at top notch level. Continue to pray for a speedy recovery for the people's horse!"
Paynter, bred in Kentucky by Diamond A Racing Corp., is out of the Cee's Tizzy mare Tizso. He has three wins and two seconds from six starts, with earnings of $952,224.
Prior to the Haskell, the Bob Baffert trainee finished second by a neck to Union Rags after showing the way in the Belmont Stakes.