With their exceptional athleticism and uncanny intelligence, Thoroughbreds are ideal candidates for a wide variety of activities such as trail riding and jumping when their racing days are over. Some former racers need time to find new careers far from racing while others instinctively make seamless transitions.
All graded stakes winner Scuba needed was a different saddle and bridle for his new job as companion mount in trainer Brendan Walsh’s barn. Known as “ponies,” these multitaskers, which can be any breed, inspire calm in the Thoroughbreds while providing a vantage point for their riders to observe the racers on the track each morning.
Since making his final career start in the 2018 Hagyard Fayette (G2) at Keeneland in October, the 8-year-old Scuba has taken to his new career exceptionally well.
“He always loved training, and he is a gentle horse,” Walsh said of the gelding by Tapit. “You never really know how they will take to it until they try. He has taken to it really good. I think he found it weird at the beginning that he was going to the track several times throughout the morning instead of just once. He loves watching all the other horses on the track.”
A two-time Keeneland sales graduate, Scuba earned $747,210 from seven wins from 30 starts, including the 2016 Marathon (G2) on Breeders’ Cup weekend at Santa Anita and the 2017 Hawthorne Gold Cup (G3) for Walsh and owner DARRS Inc.
“We are very fond of him, so we hope he will be with us for a long time,” Walsh said. “Everyone in the barn spoils him rotten, and they are constantly giving him treats like peppermints. He’ll eat anything.”