Making Waves: The Story of West Coast
21,148 Thoroughbred foals were registered in 2014. Of those thousands, only one could be given the Eclipse Award for Champion-Three Year Old in 2017. West Coast was that distinguised one.
West Coast was born on May 14, 2014 at Heritage Farm in Kentucky. His dam Caressing had been purchased by Carl Pollard in 1999. In 2000 she won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and was named Champion-Two Year Old Filly. Fourteen years later she was nursing her newborn colt by Flatter (A.P. Indy), a miracle of sorts considering she was barren the year before.
West Coast was purchased at the 2015 Keeneland September Yearling Sale for $425,000 by Gary and Mary West. The husband and wife team sent their horse to trainer Bob Baffert to begin preparing for a career on the racetrack.
West Coast was beautiful and talented as a two-year old, but Bob Baffert decided the horse needed more time to grow into himself. He did not make his debut until he was three-years old, finishing second at Santa Anita Park in Feb. of 2017. He dominated a three horse field at Santa Anita in his next out to break his maiden.
West Coast shipped to Keeneland for his third career start. There, he made a step up in class to run in the Gr.3 Lexington Stakes. He broke from post 10, was sent wide around the first turn, and settled into seventh on the backstretch. He was able to overcome all of this to start drawing clear in the stretch, but failed to hold on over a fast closing Senior Investment.
Although he did not win the Lexington Stakes, West Coast performed great and proved to his connections and the racing world alike that he was the real deal. The colt was shipped back to Santa Anita to do some more training. He made his next start a win in the Easy Goer Stakes at Belmont Park before shipping back across the country for the Gr.3 Los Alamitos Derby.
In the Los Alamitos Derby, West Coast was floated five wide onto the backstretch and four wide around the far turn. With an impressively strong run, West Coast soared down the stretch to win by 3 lengths. He then shipped to Saratoga for the Gr.1 Travers Stakes.
In the Travers Stakes, West Coast would be facing Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming, Preakness Stakes winner Cloud Computing, and Belmont Stakes winner Tapwrit. He broke from post three, easily took the lead, and never gave it up. West Coast wired the field with a 3 ¼ length win.
West Coast left the Travers Stakes with a four race win streak and was not looking to end that anytime soon. Bob Baffert sent his trainee to Parx Racing for the Gr.1 Pennsylvania Derby. There, West Coast flew past the field to win by 7 ¼ lengths.
Because of his obvious talent, West Coast was entered into the Gr.1 Breeders Cup Classic. There he would face his esteemed stablemate Arrogate as well as Gun Runner. Gun Runner set the pace while West Coast tracked the leaders. Gun Runner was much the best that day, defeating Arrogate while West Coast finished third.
West Coast failed to win the Breeders Cup Classic, but he had an impressive first season. He was named Champion Three-Year Old and won six of nine races.
West Coast returned in 2018 in the Gr.1 Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park. West Coast sat along the rail in fourth, notably different than his usual outside runs. Around the far turn, West Coast challenged leading Gun Runner but was unable to pass him, finishing second (but well clear of the rest of the field).
Gun Runner was an extremely talented racehorse, so it was not too disappointing to see West Coast finish second to him. West Coast was shipped to Meydan Racecourse for the Dubai World Cup. There he dueled for the early lead, but was unable to defeat Thunder Snow.
When he returned to America, West Coast was rested. He came back to the races for the Gr.1 Awesome Again Stakes that September, finishing second to Accelerate. For the final start of his career, West Coast was sent to Churchill Downs to run in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
The Breeders’ Cup proved itself too much for West Coast; he tired to finish seventh. He had finished his career with a record of 13: 6-4-1 and earnings of over $5.8 million. In addition to that, West Coast boasted achievements like defeating champion Arrogate as well as all three of 2017’s Triple Crown race winners. He had also earned five triple digit Beyer Speed Figures (up to 117) and had only finished off the board one time.
Today, West Coast is living lavishly at Lanes End Farm. His first crop will be born in 2020 and hit the track in 2022. West Coast has a lot of legacy to live up to as a descendant of A.P. Indy’s sire line. Only time will tell if he can be as successful as a sire as he was a racehorse, but one can definitely have their hopes high.
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Sources: Lane's End Farm