Belmont Stakes 2012 Results: Paynter Shows True Promise in Heartbreaking Defeat

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent IJune 10, 2012

ELMONT, NY - JUNE 08: Belmont entrant Paynter is guided around the track by exercise rider Simon Harris during morning workouts in preparation for the 144th Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on June 8, 2012 in Elmont, New York. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Paynter may have been nosed out for a career-defining win at the Belmont on Saturday, but this colt has a bright future ahead. 

While Paynter finished second, it was an impressive second. He led from the early stages to the very last stretch. 

This is no easy task over the 1.5-mile Belmont (the longest of the Triple Crown races). As the horses turned onto the home stretch, it seemed like a forgone conclusion that Paynter would quickly tire and fade. It never happened.

Check out the full results (according to, and we'll discuss Paynter below.  


2012 Belmont Results 

Finish Horse Jockey Post
Union Rags J. Velazquez 3
2 Paynter M. Smith 9
3 Atigun J. Leparoux 4
4 Street Life J. Lezcano 1
5 Five Sixteen
R. Napravnik
6 Unstoppable U J. Alvarado 2
7 Dullahan J. Castellano 5
8 My Adonis R. Dominguez 11
9 Ravelo's Boy A. Solis 6
10 Optimizer C. Nakatani 10
11 Guyana Star Dweej K. Desormeaux 8


Paynter showed great competitiveness as he held a nice gallop. He was in a position to win this race, and if you believe his jockey, Mike Smith, he would have won it were it not for jockey error.

The New York Daily News'  David Sanchirico had this post-race quote from Mike Smith:  

My horse ran terrific. I just blame myself for the end there. Otherwise I thought I rode great.

What Smith was talking about was a decision to whip with his left down the stretch. He wanted to cut off a charge from the outside, and that whip caused Paynter to slide over just far enough to give Union Rags all the opening he needed to make a move on the inside and overtake him for the victory. 

This was a remarkable run, especially considering Paynter's lack of experience. Here is his owner Ahmed Zayat, as quoted by Sanchirico:

To go a mile and a half the way he did, in only his fourth (actually his fifth) race, I am very lucky to have him. 

Yes Mr. Zayat, you are lucky to have him. The speed, stamina and will to win that Paynter showed was something special. 

This is a young, lightly-raced horse that is clearly just starting to get a feel for his potential. His impressive performance here should have him competing in some big races in the next few years, and he is going to have plenty of success in those runs.