Bob Baffert's Paynter stalked the early speed of Gemologist and then unleashed a powerful move on the turn and pulled away in the final furlong to win the 2012 Grade 1 Haskell Invitational with ease at Monmouth Park. Nonios got up for second, Stealcase rounded out the trifecta and Handsome Mike completed the Super. Dullahan and Gemologist finished out of the top four, finishing 5th and 6h, respectively.
Gemologist, the second choice in the betting, grabbed what looked to be an easy lead and appeared to be in prime position to take the field gate-to-wire. As the field approached the far turn, Paynter moved alongside Gemologist, at which point Javier Castellano asked Gemologist for more run while Paynter was still cruising under a hold from Bejarano. From there, it was only a question of how much Paynter would win by.
The win by Paynter gave trainer Bob Baffert his third straight win in the Haskell (2011-Coil, 2010-Lookin At Lucky), and his sixth overall.
Paynter and Gemologist took turns as the betting favorite in the run-up to post time, both trading at around 8/5 with the crowd. After the post-parade, the crowd's attention centered on Paynter, betting him down to even money as the field approached the gate.
Paytner is a three-year-old colt by Awesome Again out of a Cee's Tizzy mare (Tizso), owned by Zayat Stables, trained by Bob Baffert, and ridden by Rafael Bejarano.
Below are the payouts, fractions and internal splits for the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational: