WinStar's Grade I-winning millionaire Paynter, whose story of perseverance captivated the racing world in 2012, had to be euthanized on Friday, Nov. 10, due to lameness, the farm said in a release Friday morning.
The 2009 son of Awesome Again captured the 2012 GI Haskell Invitational S. and finished a close second in that year's GI Belmont S. en route to career earnings of $1,101,924 for owner Zayat Stables and trainer Bob Baffert.
After nearly wiring the field in the 2012 GI Belmont S. and winning the GI Haskell Invitational, Paynter developed a fever and was subsequently found to be suffering from colitis. His condition at the time required a lengthy hospital stay, and his life-threatening medical crisis was chronicled on social media under the hashtag #PowerUpPaynter. His remarkable bravery, along with the exceptional veterinary care he received, led to a full recovery. As a result, racing enthusiasts chose to award Paynter the 2012 Vox Populi Award and acknowledged his courageous journey as the NTRA's “Moment of the Year.”
Following his recovery, Paynter rejoined Baffert's barn in 2013 and the 4-year-old capped off his improbable comeback with a memorable 4 1/2-length win at Hollywood Park in June. He also went on to finish second in the GI Awesome Again S. and the GII San Diego H. before retiring to WinStar Farm following an unplaced effort in that year's Breeders' Cup Classic.
As a stallion, Paynter successfully passed on his unique blend of talent and courageousness. In 2021, he was a Top 10 General Sire, led by his chief earner and Horse of the Year Knicks Go, who bankrolled $9,258,135 in his stellar racing career. Horse of the Year and Champion Older Male, Knicks Go numbers among his victories the 2021 GI Breeders' Cup Classic, the 2021 GI Pegasus World Cup Invitational S., the 2021 GI Whitney S., and the 2020 GI Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. He was also a Grade I winner at 2-years-old when he got his picture taken in the Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland.
Paynter is also the sire of multiple stakes winners Miss Leslie, an earner of $873,530, and Harpers First Ride, an earner of $699,664. This year, Paynter is represented by MSW Hybrid Eclipse, and SW Misty Mauve, SW Diamond Dust, and SW C R Insta Gator. All told, Paynter has sired 49 black-type horses, 24 black-type winners, and has progeny earnings of $39,281,733. His runners have won on all surfaces from five furlongs to 1 ½ miles.
A $325,000 yearling purchase at the Keeneland September Sale in 2010, Paynter was produced from Tizso (Cee's Tizzy), a full sister to Tiznow, a two-time GI Breeders' Cup Classic winner, Horse of the Year and a leading sire during his stallion career. Paynter was bred in Kentucky by Diamond A Racing Corp.