West Coast led from gate to wire and posted an easy 3 ¼ length victory in the Travers Stakes (G1) at Saratoga. Although the 3-year-old Flatter colt missed the Triple Crown races, he defeated the winners of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes during his Travers romp.
“They said, ‘Listen, you ride him however you want, and he’ll put a big effort,’ and that means I could do whatever I wanted,” said winning jockey Mike Smith. “Just off of the way it looked, I said I was going to get aggressive leaving there and see where it puts me. If it’s not in front, it puts me in the race, and I’m happy with that.
“I thought there wasn’t much pace, but man, I caught a good jump, put him on the lead, and he just cruised from there. He was a happy horse all the way around there. There was a time or two when they came to me, but he just put them away and every time they would, he’d take a big old breath of air, so I felt confident he’d continue to run well.”
West Coast, whose earnings sit just shy of the million dollar mark, is trained by Bob Baffert. He has now won four races in a row, and he came into the Travers off of victories in the Los Alamitos Derby (G3) and Easy Goer Stakes.
Gary and Mary West own West Coast, who is out of champion Caressing and was a $425,000 yearling. He has now won five of seven lifetime starts and has never been worse than second.
In addition to West Coast, Flatter has been represented by 12 other stakes horses in 2017 including additional graded stakes winners Favorable Outcome and Flatlined. He stands at Claiborne for a fee of $35,000.