Entered by DARRS and trainer Brendan Walsh off back-to-back sixths in races he won in 2016—the Oct. 1 Temperence Hill Invitational Stakes at Belmont Park and the Sept. 4 Greenwood Cup at Parx Racing—Scuba found a perfect stalking trip under jockey Alonso Quinonez in the 1 1/4-mile Hawthorne Gold Cup.
Scuba won the Grade 3 Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap over Thanksgiving weekend. Photo by Four Footed Fotos.
While 16-1 shot Side Pocket showed the way through opening fractions of :24.66 and :50.13, Quinonez had 2-1 second choice Scuba racing just out of striking distance off the first flight. Shifted inside to advance to third as three-quarters went in 1:14.56, Scuba made up ground on the leader and moved out three-deep on the far turn to get positioned for his final run.
Futile, who stalked the pace in second throughout, obtained the advantage after a 1:38.72 mile, but a solid late response under brisk handling carried Scuba to victory by a half-length in a final time of 2:03.12.
With his win at Hawthorne, Scuba has now bankrolled $671,210.
“First of all, I want to thank the connections for giving me this opportunity,” Quinonez said. “We have been working with this horse. He had been going for the lead but tiring, so we decided to try to get him to settle behind horses. It worked.
“I thought we were in a good position and I knew I had horse, but then the 2 (Futile) went to the lead and I knew we had our work cut out for us. But when I asked Scuba, he responded and finished very well.”
Scuba paid $6.20, $3.40, and $3 across the board, while Futile brought $4 and $3. Side Pocket returned $4.60 to show.
Bred in Kentucky by Palides Investments N.V., out of the Smoke Glacken mare Cuaba, Scuba was a $105,000 purchase by David Ross from Mill Ridge Sales’ consignment to the 2014 Keeneland November breeding stock sale. He also went through the ring at Keeneland in 2011, where he sold for $375,000 from Chanteclair Farm to Ampad Investments.
Scuba improved his record to 7-6-3 from 24 starts, for earnings of $671,210.