Paynter Wins Haskell Invitational
Paynter stormed into the lead entering the far turn and pulled away from the field to win the $1 million Haskell Invitational on Sunday at Monmouth Park, giving trainer Bob Baffert his third straight victory in the race and sixth overall.
Gemologist took the lead in the 1 1/8-mile race, with Paynter on his flank through the backstretch. When they moved into the far turn, Paynter surged ahead and was never threatened in winning easily by 3 3/4 lengths. Nonios was second and Handsome Mike third in the field of six 3-year-olds.
Paynter, who did not race as a 2-year-old, finished second by a neck to Union Rags in the Belmont Stakes in his previous start.
Baffert won the Haskell with Coil last year, and with Lookin At Lucky in 2010. His other Haskell winners were Point Given in 2001, War Emblem in 2002 and Roman Ruler in 2005.
Paynter, the even money favorite, paid $4, $2.60 and $2.40. Nonios returned $5.20 and $3.80, and Stealcase paid $5 to show. Gemologist, the second choice at 9-5, faded to finish last in the field of six.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)