Bodemeister finished second in both the 2012 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, barely being run down by I'll Have Another in both races. When the 2012 Belmont Stakes is run Saturday Bodemeister will not be in the 12-horse field. His stablemate, Paynter, will be however. And, while he has yet to show it, his handlers believe Paynter might be a better horse than Bodemeister.
"He's more versatile than people think. He can probably do anything," said owner Ahmed Zayat. ""If you asked me personally, I always thought Bodemeister is a very nice colt. [Trainer] Bob Baffert, [from] day 1, thought Paynter was the better horse. He thinks he's a really, really nice horse."
Right now there is only way for Paynter to prove he might be better than Bodemeister. That would be to outrun I'll Have Another Saturday and ruin the Kentucky Derby and Preakness champion's bid to become horse racing's first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. Paynter is an 8-1 choice in the morning line odds.
In his last two races, Paynter finished fourth in the Santa Anita Derby in April and won an allowance race at Pimlico in May.
Analysts from the Daily Racing Form give Paynter an excellent chance at pulling the upset on Saturday.
Says Jay Privman of the DRF:
"Though lightly raced, he does not appear to have peaked just yet, and figures as a major player."
Says Mike Watchmaker of the DRF:
"Was close to the favorite 2 months ago, is fast, bred for the trip, and will be on pace. Upsetter."
Belmont Stakes.org says Paynter's "stock continues to rise as the race draws near and gives him a "good chance of finishing in the money and an outside chance of pulling the huge upset and winning the race."