08/28/2017 11:51AM

Sparkman: West Coast continues to flatter his sire

Barbara D. Livingston
West Coast, by Flatter, wins the Travers Stakes at Saratoga.

Greatness in a sire of sires is measured both by the absolute quality of his best sire sons and their number. Two-time leading sire A.P. Indy passes muster on both counts. His sons Bernardini, Camden Park, Congrats, Flatter, Indygo Shiner, Jump Start, Malibu Moon, Old Trieste, and Pulpit have all ranked among the leading sires in various parts of the world.

One of the most remarkable things about that list is that three of the horses listed, Camden Park (who sired two champions in South Africa), Flatter, and Malibu Moon, never won a stakes race in admittedly brief careers. Among those three, only Flatter, sire of Saturday’s Grade 1 Travers Stakes winner West Coast, showed stakes form, running third on his final start in the Grade 2 Washington Park Handicap.

Bred in Kentucky by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, Flatter is a year-older full brother to multiple graded winner Congrats, a very good sire, especially of fillies. Both sons of A.P. Indy are the second-generation results of Claiborne and Dilschneider’s purchase of 1984 Grade 2 Diana Handicap winner Wild Applause, by Northern Dancer, for $1.025 million at the Rokeby Stables dispersal in 1992.

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One of eight stakes winners, including Kentucky Derby winner Sea Hero, out of Grade 1-winner Glowing Tribute, by Graustark, Wild Applause had already produced Grade 1 Futurity Stakes winner Eastern Echo, by Damascus, and Grade 3 winner Blare of Trumpets, by Fit to Fight, at time of purchase, and was carrying Grade 2 winner Roar, by Forty Niner, so her price was by no means extravagant in context.

Wild Applause produced Grade 2 winner Yell, by A.P. Indy, for the partnership, and Yell’s stakes-winning daughter Cheery, by Distorted Humor, is dam of Elate, by Medaglia d’Oro, who captured Saratoga’s Grade 1 Alabama Stakes just a week before West Coast’s Travers win. Wild Applause’s daughter by Mr. Prospector, Praise, won twice, and Congrats, who always looked to have more in the tank than he was willing to give on the racetrack, is her best offspring.

Flatter, though, may have been more talented had he remained sound. Unraced at 2, he ran fourth in his first start in June of his 3-year-old season before reeling off four consecutive wins spread over the next 12 months. Up against multiple Grade 1 winner Perfect Drift in the Washington Park Handicap, he acquitted himself well, stalking the pace and then hanging on to run third, beaten six lengths.

Flatter broke down for good in that race, but his connections thought enough of his ability to stand him at Claiborne, and he has proved them right. Quite a handsome horse very much in the A.P. Indy mold with the flat knees and boxy front foot common in that champion’s offspring, he sired seven stakes winners in his first crop, led by multiple graded winner Tar Heel Mom (out of Perpetual Light, by Sunny’s Halo).

Flatter has continued the good work throughout the last decade, siring 47 stakes winners from 733 foals age 3 and up (6.4 percent), including Grade 1 winners Flat Out (Cresta Lil, by Cresta Rider), Taris (Comedy, by Theatrical), and Paola Queen (Kadira, by Kafwain), in addition to West Coast.

Bred in Kentucky by Carl Pollard’s CFP Thoroughbreds, West Coast is the eighth foal and first stakes winner out of Pollard’s 2000 champion 2-year-old filly and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Caressing, by Honour and Glory. A half-sister to stakes winner Platinum Blonde, by Silver Hawk, out of stakes winner Lovin Touch, by Majestic Prince, Caressing’s immediate family was more middle class than aristocratic, but she was a high-class filly who added the Grade 3 La Troienne and Singapore Plate to her resume. Also dam of Grade 2-placed Gold Hawk, by Empire Maker, and stakes-placed Juan and Bina, by Indian Charlie, Caressing has since produced a 2017 colt by Carpe Diem and was bred back to Flatter’s Grade 2-winning son Upstart.

Purchased for $425,000 by Gary and Mary West’s longtime bloodstock agent and racing manager Ben Glass at the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale, West Coast, like his sire, did not race at 2. West Coast won his second start last March at Santa Anita and then was beaten only a head in the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes. He has since won an optional claimer, the Easy Goer Stakes, the Grade 3 Los Alamitos Derby, and the Travers in succession.

A.P. Indy’s first good son Pulpit has extended the male line through his three-time leading sire son Tapit, and Flatter already has Flat Out and Upstart at stud. West Coast will no doubt now have his own chance to make Flatter a sire of sires as well.