Two days after winning the Haskell Invitational, Zayat Stables' Paynter remained at Monmouth Park with a slight fever that prevented him from shipping back to Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert's base in Southern California.
"There's no other issue regarding how he came out of the race, it isn't anything physically like bone-related; he just happened to spike a fever," owner Ahmed Zayat said July 31. "He's bright and alert and he's looking good but we wanted to be very cautious and not ship him. Obviously we didn't want to put him on a plane with him having a fever."
The fever puts the 3-year-old colt's status for the Aug. 25 Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course in question, although it is too early to speculate whether he'll miss a significant amount of training or quickly rebound.
"He'll probably miss a week, hopefully just five or six days," Baffert said. "He's probably just a little stressed from the trip and the race."
"The plan right now, if it's just a slight fever and it subsides, is to keep him at Monmouth and then van him to Saratoga," Zayat said. "If it's an infection that could set him back a week or so in training, you worry what do you do next, do you run in the Travers or skip it?"
According to Zayat, the Awesome Again colt who took the Haskell after finishing second to Union Rags in the Belmont Stakes remains under the care of Baffert's assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes.
"Right now they're just trying to get him right and keep him happy," he remarked. "That's the main concern."
Zayat also quelled concerns about his other top 3-year-old, Bodemeister, who has not worked since July 8 at Santa Anita. The Empire Maker colt missed a scheduled breeze July 15 and was declared out of consideration for the Haskell that day, also due to a fever, according to his connections. Baffert said July 31 that Bodemeister is two weeks away from working again.
"He had a very tough campaign," Zayat said of Bodemeister, who finished second in the Kentucky Derby and was the runner-up in the Preakness after winning the Arkansas Derby earlier in the year. "We are being very, very cautious, trying to give him all the time possible for him to kick back, because when we run him, we want him to run like the real Bodemeister he is."