Walsh: Scuba ‘Really Put His Head Down,’ Honorable Duty Out For Two Months

While a trainer would always prefer all of his horses to be running well concurrently, it is never a bad thing for one to come to form just as another falls out of it. Such is exactly what has happened with DARRS, Inc.’s two Brendan Walsh-trained handicapping stars Honorable Duty and Scuba. 

Within roughly 24 hours, Walsh went from watching his number-one older horse and reigning top Fair Grounds handicapper Honorable Duty get eased to last in the Grade I Clark Handicap to seeing recently off-form Scuba resurface with a big splash, stylishly taking the Grade III Hawthorne Gold Cup.

“It was definitely interesting,” Walsh said. “Honorable Duty is okay for the most part. It’s nothing we can’t get him through, I don’t think, and he will get a break, but will likely be back to training before too long. I wouldn’t even rule him out of (a defense of) the (Grade II $400,000) New Orleans Handicap in March. I was hoping he would be a Dubai World Cup horse, but we will take care of him and Corey did the right thing with him. He’ll be out for two months or so and we’ll focus on getting him back to his very best.

“Scuba really put his head down,” Walsh continued. “It was nice to see and the race set up good for him. All credit to the horse. He was so dominant last year, but this year it was the first time he put in a really good effort. He ran in a couple races this year that he had won easily last year, but he wasn’t the same horse. It was good to see him back. He’s now at the Fair Grounds and I wouldn’t rule him out of races like the (Grade III $150,000) Mineshaft (Handicap). There was a time when I believed he could run with any of the top handicap horses in the country at those (slightly shorter, two-turn) distances, not just at the longer ones he was winning.” 

Before Saturday’s effort pumped oxygen back into Scuba’s career, he was 0-for-6 on the year with a mere runner-up effort to his credit, in almost perfect contrast to the renaissance of Honorable Duty’s career last past winter and spring that saw him win multiple graded stakes and finish a quality second to Gun Runner in the Grade I Stephen Foster. When Honorable Duty was struggling to find his way in the middle-to-end of his 4-year-old season (2016) for Walsh, Scuba was making short work of his competition and proving to be the top dirt marathoner in the land. His wins included the 12-furlong Grade III Greenwood Cup, 13-furlong $200,000 Temperance Hill Stkes and 14-furlong Grade II Marathon Stakes in succession amid a season that earned him $448,366. Saturday’s 107 Equibase Speed Figure in his half-length victory was only four points lower than his best run of the previous season. 

Walsh hopes that he can finally calibrate their collective good form by the end of the Fair Grounds meet. “I hope to have them both back to their best,” he concluded. “That would be nice.”

The post Walsh: Scuba ‘Really Put His Head Down,’ Honorable Duty Out For Two Months appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

DYFD Winter - 300x90

Comments are closed.