Two days after winning the Haskell Invitational, Zayat Stables' Paynter remained at Monmouth Park with a slight fever that prevented him from shipping back to Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert's base in Southern California.
Derby Fever hits in earnest at the end of January, a new season underway. Last year's precocious runners train toward their 2011 debuts. Late developers arrive on the scene. Early preps loom.
We think of these things in the quiet months, when the rush of Breeders' Cup week is over and Derby fever has yet to descend. We ponder ways to change the sport, to improve its image.