Five years after he dusted a group of sophomores in the Haskell Invitational Stakes (G1), Paynter triumphed again on Haskell Day via Dark Artist, a 2-year-old filly who gave him his first winner as a stallion, at Monmouth Park July 30.
The Jane Cibelli-trained bay upset a field of seven at 12-1 in the fifth race. Dismissed off her fourth-place finish in her debut at Monmouth July 7, Dark Artist defeated a group that included the hyped Sweet Like Char, who was sent off at 3-5 in her debut Sunday.
Jockey Antonio Gallardo tucked Dark Artist 3 1/2 lengths off pacesetter Uncle Junior in the early stages of the race, before he angled out in the stretch to overtake new leader Beach Girl and drew away to a 1 1/2-length score in a time of 1:12:32 for six furlongs.
Bred by Winchell Thoroughbreds and WinStar Farm, Dark Artist paid $26.20, $10, and $4.20.
Out of the Storm Cat mare Ominous Cat, Dark Artist was purchased for $30,000 by her owners Goodwood Racing VIII at the 2016 Keeneland September yearling sale out of a consignment by James Keogh. Ominous Cat is out of the multiple grade 1-winning mare Fleet Renee, by Seattle Slew.
Racing in the colors of Zayat Stables, the Bob Baffert-trained Paynter broke his maiden impressively first time out at Santa Anita, winning a 5 1/2-furlong maiden race handily by 4 1/4 lengths. In his second lifetime start, he faced eventual Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) winner I’ll Have Another and a field full of seasoned 3-year-olds in the 1 1/8-mile Santa Anita Derby (G1), finishing a respectable fourth despite bobbling at the break.
After skipping the first two legs of the Triple Crown, Paynter was a neck away from a Belmont Stakes (G1)-Haskell double, but was caught at the wire in the Belmont by Union Rags .
The son of Awesome Again , out of Tizso (Cee’s Tizzy) earned $1.1 million, with four wins from 11 starts.
His path to the breeding shed was a victory in itself as Paynter spiked a fever following his Haskell feat and was sidelined for the rest of the year due to severe illness and ensuing surgery on his colon. He was diagnosed with laminitis in three legs later in September 2012.
Paynter returned to the track in June of 2013 after nearly a year to win an allowance race. He earned placings that year in the San Diego Handicap (G2) at Del Mar and the Awesome Again Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita Park before ending his racing career with a sixth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).
Paynter stood the 2017 season at WinStar Farm for $20,000.