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ELMONT, NY - JUNE 09: Union Rags ridden by John Velazquez narrowly beats Paynter ridden by Mike Smith during the 144th running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on June 9, 2012 in Elmont, New York.

Paynter (nearest) is the 12th individual Grade 1 winner by Awesome Again

  PICTURE: getty images  

Paynter strikes gold in Haskell Stakes

LAST month's Belmont Stakes runner-up Paynter was an impressive near four-length winner of the Grade 1 Haskell Stakes for three-year-olds over 1m1f on the Monmouth Park dirt on Sunday.

Paynter, who found only Union Rags too good in the Belmont, gave trainer Bob Baffert his third consecutive victory in the Haskell after Lookin At Lucky in 2010 and Coil last year.

Paynter becomes the 12th individual Grade 1 winner sired by Adena Springs stalwart Awesome Again, a son of Deputy Minister who landed the 1998 Breeders' Cup Classic.

Celebrities sired by Awesome Again include Game On Dude, Ghostzapper and Ginger Punch.

Diamond A Racing bred Paynter out of Tizso, a sister to another Breeders' Cup Classic winner in Tiznow as well as to Grade 2 scorers Budroyale and Tizdubai.

Surprisingly, perhaps, one of the best turf performers in this family of top dirt horses is Grade 1-winning jumper Celibate, who is out of a half-sister to the dam of Tizso and her siblings. Celibate won 12 races for Charlie Mann including the BMW Chase at Punchestown.

Paynter is the fourth stakes performer produced by Tizso after Grade 3 winner Tiz West (Gone West), Listed scorer Tizakitty (Distinctive Cat) and Listed-placed Tizalovelylady (Western Fame).

Paynter's owner Zayat Stables bought the colt for $325,000 at the 2010 Keeneland September yearling sale. His two-year-old brother was sold in the same ring last year to Bluegrass Hall for $510,000.




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