11/04/2016 3:48PM

Scuba makes easy work of winning Marathon Stakes

Debra A. Roma
Scuba, under Kendrick Carmouche, paid $6 as the 2-1 favorite in winning the Marathon Stakes on Friday.

ARCADIA, Calif. - There’s something about Santa Anita and long-distance runners that brings out the best in trainer Brendan Walsh.
The Walsh-trained Scuba on Friday galloped to a 4 1/4-length victory in the Grade 2, $200,000 Marathon Stakes at Santa Anita. Two years ago, also at Santa Anita, Walsh won this same race with Cary Street.

“It’s nice to win it again; this is where you want to be isn’t it?” Walsh said in the Santa Anita winner’s circle.

Walsh said he called on his experience with Cary Street when he decided to send Scuba on marathon distances after going shorter didn't work. The Marathon win was Scuba’s third straight. He won the Grade 3 Greenwood Cup  at 1 1/2 miles in September at Parx Racing, and the Temperence Hill Stakes going 1 5/8 miles at Belmont in October, before Friday’s victory.

Walsh said after the Greenwood Cup that Scuba “just seemed like he got so much confidence from getting his head in front and he’s gotten better and better. Going into this, his last two works were unbelievable.”

Breaking from the rail under Kendrick Carmouche - who was riding his first dirt race ever at Santa Anita - Scuba scurried to the front, but was soon confronted by Hard Aces and Blue Tone. Scuba was actually third for a few strides entering the far turn the first time, but Carmouche held his rail position.

Though the stretch the first time, Scuba was back on even terms with Hard Aces, who was being smooched to by Santiago Gonzalez, which got Scuba on the muscle, according to Carmouche.

“He was wanting to get on the muscle and wanted to go, I kept talking to him ‘easy, easy not yet, not yet,’ " Carmouche said. “By the time we turned down the backside, he fell back into my hands and I knew it would be a race from there.”

Scuba opened his advantage at the three-eighths pole and was never seriously threatened from there to the wire. Hard Aces finished second by 1 1/2 lengths over Blue Tone, who nosed out Melmich for third. Melmich was followed, in order, by Quick Casablanca, Cowboy Rhythm, Tale of Verve, Sammy Mandeville, and Estrechada.

Scuba, a 5-year-old gelding by Tapit, covered the 1 3/4 miles in 2:58.20 and returned $6 as the 2-1 favorite. Scuba is owned by the DARRS Inc. stable of David Ross.

“It’s been great with this team that we’ve had with this horse,” Ross said. “We finally found his niche. I can’t thank Brendan enough. Kendrick is such a patient rider, this is a race that requires patience. He just did a terrific job.”