West Coast Dominates Pennsylvania Derby; Runner-Up Irap Vanned Off

by | 09.23.2017 | 5:55pm
Mike Smith celebrates the Pennsylvania Derby win with West Coast

Gary and Mary West's aptly-named West Coast dominated his second straight Grade 1 race in Saturday's $1 million Pennsylvania Derby, cruising under the wire 7 1/4 lengths in front of his competition. Off as the heavy favorite at 4-5 under Mike Smith, West Coast galloped alongside the pacesetter Outplay down the backstretch, ranged up alongside in the turn and powered to the front turning for home; from there he was never truly threatened. Trained by Bob Baffert, the 3-year-old son of Flatter covered nine furlongs over Parx' fast main track in 1:49.91 seconds.

‘This horse is just getting better and better,” Baffert said. “We thought he would run a big race, and he was calm in the paddock. He is just a big boy. It was nice the way he ran. He did it pretty easily.”

An inquiry was conducted into the stretch run due to some lugging in by the runner up Irap, but the stewards opted not to change the order of finish. Irap (3-1) finished second in front of Giuseppe the Great (47-1) in third and Game Over (19-1) in fourth.

The Daily Racing Form later reported that Irap suffered a fracture to his left front sesamoid after the Pennsylvania Derby. The leg was stabilized and the colt was vanned off the track, back to his barn. Caton Bredar posted on Twitter that the colt has been fitted with a Kinzie splint and that he would be vanned to the New Bolton Center on Sunday morning.

West Coast seemed to stumble just a bit at the break, but recovered quickly and Smith urged him on to be near the front of the pack. Outplay was the quickest off the blocks from the group of 10 sophomores, striding out to a one-length lead through the first turn. Smith kept West Coast off the rail right on Outplay's heels through fractions of 23 1/5 and 47 1/5 seconds, then moved West Coast up to pressure Outplay's pace just before the far turn, at which point Smith backed off again.

Behind the leading pair were Game Over and Timeline, with Irish War Cry traveling well off the rail in fifth in front of Irap. Irish War Cry came up three-wide around the far turn into third alongside Game Over, just as West Coast moved up again to challenge Outplay for the lead.

Smith and West Coast easily took over in the turn, and had a two-length jump on the field at the head of the lane. Irap came very wide around the turn to challenge a dueling Irish War Cry and Game Over, but West Coast was already long gone. In mid-stretch, Irap suddenly shot toward the rail, crossing directly in front of the path of Irish War Cry and forcing his rider to check sharply. Irap was straightened out to finish a clear second behind runaway 7 1/4-length winner West Coast. Giuseppe the Great came from behind to finish third, just ahead of Game Over.

“I felt real good on the first turn,” Baffert said. “Mike had him in a good position kept him on the outside. I told him don't go near the rail. At the 3/8ths pole he had a lot of horse and I was afraid he was going to get a little bored out there [West Coast]. He's just learning how to run and to have a 3-year-old this time of year and the way he won the Travers and now winning this race he is going to be horse to reckon with.”

Bred in Kentucky by Carl F. Pollard's CFP Thoroughbreds at Hermitage Farm, West Coast commanded $425,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale. The colt won his second start, though he didn't begin his career until February of his sophomore season, then ran second in the G3 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland. He took an allowance in California before shipping east again to win the Easy Goer Stakes, then flew back and forth again to take the G3 Los Al Derby and the Travers in July and August.

Raced consistently once a month since debuting in February, West Coast has compiled a record of six wins and two seconds from eight starts. The colt's second Grade 1 win has improved his earnings to $1.5 million.

“He is really a good horse,” Smith said. “He is just better than they are right now, as far as 3-year-olds go.”

Watch the race replay here:

  • Stuart H.

    West Coast proved he belongs in the B.C. Classic. Much the best…and has looked better than Arrogate has when training to be honest. Also can someone explain why Castellano would intentionally pull Timeline back off of that pace and keep him on that dead rail? He had every chance to go early and get a good position up front OFF of the rail…just slip behind Outplay. The horse did not lift a hoof once trapped back behind a horse and it should have been obvious the horse wants daylight…like his sire. It’s not rocket science. Yet another failed cute move on a straightforward colt. Irap was also lucky not to get taken down…clearly impeded the 10 and 7.

    • Diana Levy

      Can’t help wondering if the stewards decided to leave him up after seeing the horse vanned off. Sort of a case of not piling on to the connections…

      • Royden Lippincott

        Must admit I had the same thought.

      • OopsyDaisy3

        If Irap ‘lugged’ over after the break, i am sure that would be excuse enough to not pile on. My word, he ran with a fractured sesamoid.
        Sending the best to you Irap, big fella. We are pulling for you brave one.
        Linda in Texas

      • Stuart H

        I was thinking the same…human nature.

  • Royden Lippincott

    Any update on condition of Irap after being vanned off? Very sorry to see that and hoping there is some positive news in what could be a career ending injury. Prayers for connections. West Coast continues to awe.

    • Cynthia McGinned

      Unfortunately, this is more likely to be a life threatening injury

      • Lefty_Orioles_Fan

        I hope not, they both ran their race and looked good.
        Irap is a nice horse, even though he was second today
        West Coast was much the best today

        Anyway, they said they stabilized it and hopefully that is a legitimate positive step for Irap

      • Royden Lippincott

        Yes, very true but didn’t want to say it. I am well familiar with this injury but always want to hope against hope. Devastating all the way around.

      • Lehane

        He has a 50/50% chance of surviving this injury. And if he does survive, he will not live a comfortable life.

    • Minneola

      Word has been that Irap suffered a sesamoid fracture with severe loss of integrity and was being taken to New Bolton. This, of course, is what is being reported but not substantiated at this time.

    • thisismyonlypostonthesubject

      Bloodhorse quoted Doug O’Neill as saying that the horse is comfortable and the prognosis is good. Hope that is not a misprint. Hope he is right.

      • Minneola

        Hope so too. I’ve seen a number of comments being posted on other sites and am waiting for an “official” word from a vet.

      • Stuart H

        I hope that is not a misprint. It would be good news.

  • Ida Lee

    I think Irish would have done better if he hadn’t been bumped….at least hit the Board…Even I know that there was no catching that speed demon West Coast…..I will say that my boy Irish is still the best looking TB on the planet…you can’t take that away from him or me….but right now I could care less….Irap is injured….his career is over probably….I can’t stand it when anyone gets hurt like this ….I just hate it…has anyone heard anything?? ….

    • Lefty_Orioles_Fan

      Irish War Cry should be changed Irish War Whimper!

      • Stuart H

        Well his on-off streak has ended…just “off.”
        Time to give this guy a little class relief and let him gain some confidence back.Unlike Timeline, who was not allowed to run his race by his jockey and was boxed in behind hoses on he rail (so who knows what he would have done if given daylight early), IWC had no excuses except a small bump late when he was not hitting the board.

        I know Ida Lee is a big fan of his. The last thing he needs is a BC race.

        • Lefty_Orioles_Fan

          Irish War Cry needs to drop it down to Grade II or III races or stakes races.
          That is what he is.

    • Marilyn Shively

      Ida–like you, I cannot stand it when a horse breaks down so severely– it is horrible– I always think the poor horse left the gate and didn’t get to go home, to the comfort of his stall and I wind up crying–it is the worst part of a sport I truly love

      • Ida Lee

        Irap is having surgery on Monday by the best…Dr. Richardson of New Bolton and O’Neill’s vet is flying over to assist so he’s getting the best care….it’s just so heartbreaking when you have youngsters like Irap injured in this fashion, especially after a great effort in a major race ….at least, they must think he has a chance of survival if he’s getting surgery…I’m sure that all’s we want….let’s just get him back ….

        • whirlaway

          I was thankful Doug twittered that report last night mid evening so I am going on what he said. Many good wishes and prayers are going to Irap he really has improved and put some interest into the 3 yr old picture and this is terrible for any horse. There has been more than a few recently including the two 5 horse spills,
          the horses lost were not well known but each and every one is sad.

          • Ida Lee

            Coal Front fractured a condylar fracture in the Gallant Bob which he won….does not appear to be life threatening….surgery soon……my headaches back ….

          • whirlaway

            This has been a bad few weeks. Thankful Coal Front appears not serious and recovery will go well. The turf break down at Belmont injured Jose Ortiz and resulted
            in the horse euthanized, another early Sept at Los Al the horse was euthanized and the two 5 horse spills that resulted in 1 horse euthanized. I guess those two incidents could have been much worse. Of course poor Irad that we are all hoping everything goes well for him. Last night in the Charles Town Oaks Chanel’s Legacy was pulled up shortly after the start with an injury to a hind leg and per the race chart
            was Vanned off in distress, I only read that did not see race. I have watched no racing again today only the stakes yesterday and really not much lately and only the stake last night with Run Away and Hide. I am definitely in one of my down times and have been for a few weeks. I am sooooo ready to not hear more of this and it is
            not at just one track but different tracks. I know this can happen but recently it seems terrible.

          • Ida Lee

            Hang in there whirlaway….I’m doing what I can to keep my spirits up….watched Page McKenney’s race again…thank goodness we had this great warrior to hang on to this weekend …

          • whirlaway

            Page is a wonderful story and he is quite a horse in his own way. His record is
            51 starts with 20 wins 15 seconds and 4 thirds. He works hard for the money.
            Can’t help but like him. But I have a soft spot for the claimers and horses that lift themselves out of the claiming ranks. Always felt that way.

    • Kathie J BALFOUR

      Yes Ida Lee….I love Irish too, and he looked good for most of the race, but when he got bumped he gave up (probably made him MAD !) wasn’t his day (again) but I still believe there can be a time for him. WC was awesome. How does Baffert do it ?

  • J

    West Coast is the top 3 yr old of the year.
    Is Mike Smith switching from the faded ARROGATE?

    But, Gun Runner is Tops.

    • David Juffet

      Gun worked a bullet this morning. He’s the Chalk in the Classic.

  • frank graziano

    1st in the Derby. 2nd in the Cotillion. Here’s hoping other owners will give this young, industrious up and comer more horses.

    • Kimberly Kelley

      😂😂😂😂

    • Meydan Rocks

      LOLOL

    • Tango F

      I love it! Celebrating 2nd in the Cotillion … this sounds so familiar …

      • frank graziano

        it’s called sarcasm, Rain Man.

        • Tango F

          more like desperation

          • frank graziano

            That comment, much like you, Tangoblueverite makes no sense.

          • Tango F

            bluhoppertunitygoodnessme

  • Tango F

    Another runner from the Baffert barn who doesn’t seem to have any stamina limitations

    • Meg Hiers

      Looking at the fractions, not sure I would say that.

      • Meydan Rocks

        His trainer says he will appreciate longer distances. I’m going to assume that Smith went as fast as needed to win?

      • Tango F

        so … the other three year olds tired and he never showed a sign of straining …. as usual, I might add

        • SteveD

          West Coast was much the best of the field.. But 3 seconds slower than Bayern’s time. So, there are really NO fast 3yo’s this year.

          • David Juffet

            Coal Front is fast. Lol

          • Doug Bennett

            You aren’t accounting for the track variant. West Coast ran a 107 BSF in the PA Derby vs. Bayern’s 110. In other words, apples-to-apples, West Coast’s PA Derby was ~1.5 lengths slower than Bayern’s, not 15 lengths slower as your 3 seconds apples-to-oranges comparison would suggest.

            Bayern was fast and so is West Coast.

          • SteveD

            You are correct…but Bayern won the BCC. West Coast will not.
            He will probably be 15 lengths behind Gun Runner ;)

          • Doug Bennett

            Agree WC will have his work cut out beating Gun Runner (or Arrogate) in the BCC as he’ll need to improve 5-10 BSF to do so. But he hasn’t really been tested lately so it’s tough to tell.

            I hope another bomb like Tu Brutus ends up in the race and runs back to Excelsior form (115-120 BSF).

          • SteveD

            I’ll give you great odds on any kinda bet like that ;)

    • Stuart H

      Yes, despite the fact that Flatter has not exactly thrown a ton of classic winners. And yes I know he is from AP Indy. And underneath WC is not very stout…it is amazing how Bob gets these horses to run. Honour and Glory, his damsire, is best known for winning the Kings Bishop. And he wasn’t another Hard Spun stretching back out to 9 or 10 furlongs, He was a sprinter-miler…amazing.

      • Tango F

        “…it is amazing how Bob gets these horses to run…”
        Yes, one after another after another …. kinda unreal

  • Dave Hunter

    Do you think Mike Smith ever gets tired of winning million dollar races? Lol

  • Lefty_Orioles_Fan

    Doug O’Neill
    @DougONeill1
    Irap is resting comfortably in his stall. Irap sustained a fractured sesamoid. He is scheduled for surgery’
    Hope all is well and is successful

  • Ida Lee

    There’s a report in Horse Racing Nation website on Irap from O’Neill from about an hour ago ….

  • Walt

    West Coast Distributor Bob Baffert strikes again.

    • Meydan Rocks

      That’s funny! The reason I say so is that Baffert’s first Kentucky Derby was won for an owner who was a beer distributor.

  • Walt

    West Coast Big Money Mike Smith Cashes In.

  • Parx is Cheap

    Congrats to Parx for having video cameras from the same era when Ron Jeremy was a famous star. All that slot money and they can’t go to HD? Lame.

    • Meydan Rocks

      You’re killing me!!

      • Tango F

        The sad thing: you both are aware of exactly when Ron Jeremy was a “famous star” ….

        • Meydan Rocks

          HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • lastromantribune

          LMAO

    • LongTimeEconomist

      Who’s Ron Jeremy?????

    • Stuart H

      You are aware that Ron Jeremy is doing a lot of producing and directing now, I hear. In HD…LOL.

    • David Juffet

      Parx doesn’t care about their racing program. 99% of their energy goes into the casino.

  • Richard C

    Add the Charles Town Oaks to the wicked several days in the sport…..Chanel’s Legacy was eased moments after the start and vanned off — which deserves some sort of follow-up.

    • Jim Stevens

      Another casino track that doesn’t give a _____ about the safety of their track surfaces

      Anyone with half a decent horse needs to stay away from PA racing and CT

  • smalltimer

    I hate to be the one the say this, but Irap should of never got in the gate yesterday. I know this sounds harsh, but would you send you horse out to race in against the best horses in the country after walking LAME two days before? I saw it myself, I was worried the whole time for that horse!
    Something has change! I love this sport, but too many people are taking advantage of these courageous animals! Take a stand track vets!!!! I love D. O’Neil, but was it worth it? Praying for a speedy recovery Irap!!!

  • smalltimer

    I hope Irap is really OK!

  • smalltimer

    by the way, it takes a lot of courage for someone to say what they believe to be true, on a public forum. Thanks for deleting me.

  • michael baldwin too

    Hopefully this race might show how good gunnevera might be for the rest of the year.

    • David Juffet

      He’s well managed too. Trains up to the BC Classic. He’ll be an overlay again at least 30-1.

  • Figless

    Strongly suspect the fracture happened at top of stretch when he went off stride and lugged in to the rail, he gamely fought on despite a fracture. Forget the rest, bunch of alw horses, maybe claimers. Irap defeated them with a broken bone.

    Hopefully he survives this and lives to enjoy retirement, under appreciated horse.

    • manyhorses

      I thought the same thing.

  • Delrene

    My heart is heavy, but hopefully Irap will survive this injury and I know the veterinarians will do their very best. I watched this race and I believe this injury ( as others have mentioned. happened when he lugged in) These horses have such grit and heart. My prayers and good wishes for Irap ( having had the incredible good fortune to meet him up close at Del Mar) he is really a gorgeous boy. Of course congratulations to West Coast and connections but always tough when a horse or rider is injured.

    • OopsyDaisy3

      I have thought all along what a good looking fella he is and he has tried his best, let’s just hope he is rewarded with good news after his operation. And yes congratulations to The Wests. Horse racing does have setbacks and sadness. That is why i respect every horse that is led to a gate to race. Linda

  • Beau Geste

    There is a part of me that hates to see the 3 year old championship go to a colt who missed the Triple Crown, but this appears to be a year for it. Always Dreaming dulled with every race that followed the Derby. Cloud Computing didn’t do enough other than the Preakness to even be considered and Tapwrit didn’t really have the opportunity. West Coast has put together a pretty impressive resume with six wins and two places in eight starts.

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