There’s a lot of buzz around Gary and Mary West’s stable as West Coast prepares to launch himself in to his four-year-old season. The now four-year-old colt seemed to get lost in the shuffle at the tail end of last year with Gun Runner and Arrogate’s rivalry taking most of the attention of fans and handicappers alike. However, a strong 3rd place finish in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic maintains this horse’s momentum.
Maturing is a big part of that.
West Coast was a bit of a late bloomer as a three-year-old. Though he placed second in the 2017 Lexington, his connections and trainer Bob Baffert didn’t deem him ready for the big leagues of the Triple Crown. Instead, he made his more serious stakes debut in June at the 2017 Easy Goer and suddenly caught the eye of everyone. From there it was on to sweeps in the Los Alamitos Derby, Travers Stakes and Pennsylvania Derby.
History has shown plenty of older horses who have come in to their own in later years, and the excitement around Gary and Mary West’s prized competitor as West Coast prepares for what may be his biggest test. “He is the most accomplished horse we’ve had,” West said in an interview. “We’ve had what I thought were some really, really good horses whose careers were cut short by an injury of some kind and had to be retired prematurely.”
Gary West’s intentions of running West Coast through the 2018 campaign are fueled by more than seeing one of his own succeed on the track. That job has been done. Victories in the 2017 Penn Derby and Travers Stakes alone are enough for most to hang their hats on. But West’s agenda stems from a big picture standpoint as well. “This is the first horse we’ve ever had that we thought was capable of being a top older handicap horse. Part of it is our own selfishness of wanting to watch our horse run. But if more people would run older horses instead of retiring them to the breeding shed, it would be better for the game.”
The field for the upcoming 2018 Pegasus World cup is still up in the air, but we know for sure that big names like Gun Runner, Collected and Fear the Cowboy will be present. There is a lot of work ahead, and perhaps an uphill climb for this horse in particular, but there’s undeniable excitement from Gary and Mary as West Coast prepares for a season that is sure to prove where he stands amongst the world’s best.