Gary & Mary West
New Year's Day, Breeders' Cup Juvenile, 2nd November 2013
Trained by Bob Baffert, Sire: Street Cry. Dam: Justwhistledixie
Room Service, Ashland St, Keeneland, 5th April 2014
Trained by Wayne M. Catalano, Sire: More Than Ready. Dam: Dream Lady
A 67-year-old native of California, Gary West became a racing fan after he moved to Omaha, Nebraska, when he was 19. There he met his wife, Mary, who had owned a horse while in high school. They had a common interest: horse racing at Ak-Sar-Ben (Nebraska spelled backwards), then one of the nation’s leading tracks. As fans at Ak-Sar-Ben, they dreamed of owning a horse one day. Now, they own more than one hundred, including 25 broodmares who are at Dell Ridge Farm in Lexington, Ky.
They have racehorses with trainers Bob Baffert, Chad Brown, Wayne Catalano, Tom Proctor, W. Bret Calhoun and Cody Autrey. The Wests had their best year ever in 2012, capturing 55 races and earning more than $3.2 million, ranking them 12th in North America owner earnings. They’ve already topped that by more than $1 million this year, and rank third in North America through late November.
Gary worked in hospital administration initially, then built one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world. With Mary’s help, he has founded numerous companies, beginning with WATS Telemarketing in 1978. The West Corporation they founded in 1986 is one of the largest customer relationship management companies in the world. The Wests sold it in 2006. At the time, it had 35,000 employees and did $3.5 billion in annual sales.
The Wests have started and led several enterprises in Southern California and the Midwest, including West Development and West Partners, a private equity firm, and West Family Investments, a private hedge fund in Chicago. In Carlsbad, California, they own West Steak and Seafood, Bistro West, West Inn Hotel & Suites and West Mart.
After selling The West Corporation, they began the Gary and Mary West Foundation, which focuses on lowering the cost of health care; supporting senior wellness programs; supporting youth employment training, and supporting training programs for service dogs who help seniors and veterans. In April, 2010, they opened the Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center in San Diego. They also began the West Health Institute for non-profits seeking to lower health care costs in San Diego and Omaha.
Of course, their success allowed the Wests to pursue their dreams in horse racing. They claimed their first horse, Joe Blow, for $13,500 in 1980, and he won 23 races for them before he was retired in Nebraska, where he lived to the age of 31.
The Wests’ racing manager and bloodstock advisor is O.J. “Ben” Glass Jr., who trained their first graded stakes winner, Rockamundo, who took the Grade II 1993 Arkansas Derby at odds of 108-1. He became their first starter in the Kentucky Derby.
Their list of top horses include Dollar Bill, Power Broker, Book Review, Guilt Trip, Code West and Buddha, the 2002 morning-line favorite for the Kentucky Derby off his victory in the Grade I Wood Memorial. He stepped on a stone the day before the Derby, resulting in a badly-bruised foot. He was scratched from the Derby and retired.