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West Coast goes east to capture Travers S. (G1)
Saturday, August 26, 2017
Gary and Mary West's ultra-consistent colt West Coast gave Bob Baffert his second consecutive winner of the $1.25 million Travers S. (G1) Saturday at Saratoga, winning the “Mid-summer Derby” by 3 1/4-lengths over a field that included all three winners of this year's Triple Crown races.

With a full field of 12 3-year-olds in the gate for the 1 1/4-mile contest, Mike Smith hustled West Coast  quickly to the lead, but just as quickly got the colt to relax as he made the front before going into the first turn. 

West Coast cut sensible fractions of :48.12 and 1:12.23 for six furlongs before the pace began to quicken. Gunnevera came with a huge run on the far outside into the stretch, but West Coast was still full of run and came home comfortably in front in 2:01.19 on the fast track.

"I thought we had a decent shot in here," said Baffert assistant Jim Barnes, who was on hand to saddle the winner. "You've got to remember you've got the winner of the Derby, the Preakness, the Belmont, the first and second finishers of the Haskell, the first and second finishers of the Jim Dandy. You'd have to go back a lot of years in history to see a Travers with this many quality horses." 

"He's (Gary West) been so patient with me," added Baffert by phone from California. "I'm just happy to see them win this race. They've put a lot in the game. I was rooting for the Wests. They deserve to win a race like this." 

With the 3-year-old picture in flux, West Coast has emerged as one of the division leaders with today's win, along with an easy victory in the Los Alamitos Derby (G3). His overall record stands at 5-2- 0 in seven starts, all coming in 2017. His earnings are just short of seven figures at $993,800.

Baffert now has three Travers wins on his resume, including last year's record-breaking performance by Arrogate, and with eventual Horse of the Year Point Given in 2001.

Baffert 2013