Belmont Stakes runner-up Paynter and Grade 1 Wood Memorial winner Gemologist
tuned up this week at tracks from coast to coast with bullet works in advance of
the Grade 1 $1 million Haskell Invitational.
The Haskell will be contested over
Park’s main track at 1 1/8
mile on Sunday, July 29, and those colts are among the probables for the
45th running of the race.
Paynter went six furlongs handily in 1:13.20
on Del Mar’s
All Weather track on Wednesday and it was the fastest work of six horses at the
distance. On Monday, Gemologist breezed five furlongs in 1:00.88 on Saratoga’s dirt training
track for the best of 25 at the distance.
Paynter’s move was the third straight bullet
he’s fired and it follows two on Santa Anita’s dirt track on July 4 and July 11,
“I don’t know yet when Paynter will ship and
arrive on the grounds,” said trainer Bob Baffert when reached at his Southern California base on Thursday
Baffert, who has won a
record five runnings of the Haskell and took the last two with Coil in 2011 and
Lookin At Lucky in 2010, trains Paynter for Zayat Stables
Grade 1 winner Gemologist
has not raced since his disappointing 16th place finish in the
Kentucky Derby but he has been doing well since Todd Pletcher put him back into
training. Owned by WinStar Farm LLC, the son of Tiznow out of the Mr. Prospector
mare Crystal Shard went into the gate on the first Saturday in May with a
perfect record of five-for-five.
back-to-back Haskells in 2006 with Bluegrass Cat and in 2007 with Any Given
Saturday and both of those colts were also owned by
Dullahan, the winner of the
Grade 1 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes who finished third in the Kentucky Derby and
seventh in the Belmont Stakes, has been training at Churchill Downs and is
expected to make his next start in the Haskell for trainer Dale Romans and owner
Jerry Crawford of Donegal Racing.
2011 Juvenile Champion and
Grade 3 Iowa Derby winner Hansen, who is trained by Mike Maker and owned by his
namesake Dr. Kendall Hansen, is among the 3-year-olds who are possible for the
Haskell. The son of Tapit finished ninth in the Kentucky