When asked about the ability to carry on after his admitted miscalculation contributed to It Tiz Well’s two-length upset of Abel Tasman, Smith replied, “I have no choice, especially when the next race is worth $1 million.”
Smith, 52, made certain there would be no misadventures with West Coast by rousing him early out of post-position four so that he sat just outside early leader Outplay. It was clear they could draw away from Outplay any time they pleased, and West Coast tore around the final turn to open a four-length advantage in early stretch. He was the easiest of winners, drawing clear by 7 ¼ lengths against runner-up Irap, in a time of 1:49.91 for 1 1/8 miles.
Irap , after making a powerful move to be second for jockey Mario Gutierrez, broke down after the finish line and had to be vanned off with what was initially thought to be a sesamoid injury to his left front leg.
“This is a very serious injury and may be a life-threatening injury,” said Dr. Celeste Kunz, an on-call veterinarian. Irap, trained by Doug O’Neill, was taken by ambulance back to his stall for further evaluation.
For Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, he is having a late-blossoming colt move to the head of the class for the second consecutive season. Arrogate roared to the forefront late last summer when he smashed the track record in the Travers, and now West Coast boasts a five-racing winning streak culminating in a pair of dominant Grade 1 scores. The son of Flatter controlled the Travers Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets from start to finish in a 3 ¼-length decision on Aug. 26. The Pennsylvania Derby, given Grade 1 status for the first time, was even more convincing.