Owner Gary West said Eclipse Award winner West Coast is back in training at Los Alamitos and is expected to begin workouts in “a week or two” in advance of his final starts before being retired to stud for the 2019 breeding season.
Winner of the 2017 Travers Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets and that year’s champion 3-year-old male, West Coast has not raced since finishing second to Thunder Snow in the March 31 Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airline. West said he hopes the Bob Baffert trainee will be ready for the Nov. 3 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs. If not, the Grade 1 Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare at Churchill on Nov. 23 would be the next option, with the Jan. 26 Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes at Gulfstream Park a very likely spot for the Flatter colt’s final start.
“He’s been back in training for three weeks now at Los Alamitos for Bob,” West said Aug. 3. “He’s training great. We just don’t know when he’ll be ready to run again. There’s no specific race we have in mind for him right now. We’d love to make the Breeders’ Cup Classic, but if the horse isn’t 100% ready, then we’ll go to a ‘Plan B,’ which would be the Clark, and if Gulfstream has the Pegasus and it’s a fair financial deal, we’ll run in that and then retire him.”
West said he did not believe there would be time for a prep race before the Breeders’ Cup, but he has complete confidence in Baffert’s ability to have West Coast in peak form off workouts alone.
“Bob is an absolute magician in getting a horse to a race off works,” said West. “He does it better than anyone else I have ever seen in my life.”
West said he is in no rush to finalize plans for West Coast’s career as a stallion.
“I’m sure he will be well-received as a stallion,” said West, the chairman and founder of West Health. “We haven’t made any decision about where to stand the horse. I’ll start to talk to some people in September, but until his racing career is over, I don’t want to make that decision.”
The decision to take West Coast out of training was based solely on a desire to give the 4-year-old some time off after racing 11 times in a span of a little more than 13 months.
“When he came back from Dubai, we sat down and we realized he had spent nearly three full years in a box stall, and that’s a lot of time in a 10-foot-by-10-foot enclosure. So we decided to give him some time off. He didn’t have any surgeries or anything like that. The poor horse just needed some time off. He had been back and forth across the country about four times, and back and forth from Dubai,” West said. “People don’t believe me when I tell them this, but we’re patient people and we’ll wait for the horse to tell us when to run, and Bob is great about that. We’ll do what’s right by the horse. He’s been great to us.”
Bred in Kentucky by CFP Thoroughbreds, West Coast is a son of Caressing, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2000 and winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. He was purchased by the Wests for $425,000 at the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale.
In 11 starts, West Coast has six wins, four seconds, and a third, for earnings of $5,683,800. Besides the Travers, West Coast won the Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby and Grade 3 Los Alamitos Derby and was third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic during his championship season. He was second in the Pegasus before his runner-up finish in Dubai.