The 2017 Travers Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1) was a case of deja vu. Last year’s race was claimed by Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) champion Arrogate, who was ridden by Hall of Famer Mike Smith and trained by Hall of Fame Bob Baffert. This year’s winner was West Coast, who was also ridden by Smith and trained by Baffert. And just like Arrogate before him, West Coast didn’t compete in the Triple Crown circuit.
West Coast led wire-to-wire in the Travers Stakes and defeated runner-up Gunnevera by 3 1/4 lengths. The 12-horse field featured all three American Classic winners (Always Dreaming – Kentucky Derby, Cloud Computing – Preakness Stakes, Tapwrit – Belmont Stakes), and with the exception of only three horses, every competitor in the race was a graded stakes winner. For West Coast to win in such a star-studded field makes him a horse to reckon with going forward.
“They said, ‘Listen, you ride him however you want, and he’ll put (in) a big effort,’ and that means I could do whatever I wanted,” said Smith. “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 is now 5-2-0 in seven career starts, with a grade one and grade three win on his resume, and he has earned $993,800 to date. He paid $14.20, $7.60, and $5.30 across the board for the win.