ELMONT, N.Y. – La Marca Stable’s New York-bred Scuttlebuzz ran his win streak to three with a rallying score in Saturday’s $100,000 Elusive Quality, a seven-furlong Widener turf test for older horses, at Belmont Park.
Trained by Rudy Rodriguez and expertly piloted by Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, the 5-year-old The Factor gelding has won 4-of-5 starts since the addition of an extension blinker outside his right eye for a state-bred optional-claiming score in September at Belmont. He entered Saturday’s test from consecutive scores against open company sprinting six furlongs on the Aqueduct Racetrack turf, capturing an allowance in November and an optional-claimer last out on December 4.
“You can see he’s a little more comfortable in the morning with the extension blinker when he’s breezing,” Rodriguez said. “I use the same extension blinker in the afternoon and it keeps him from drifting and losing his momentum. By covering it up, it keeps him straight.”
Scuttlebuzz, off a step slow, settled in fifth position to the outside of American Monarch as Proven Strategies marked the opening quarter-mile in 22.67 seconds over the firm going under pressure from 6-5 mutuel favorite Value Proposition and Milton the Monster.
The pacesetting trio opened up a seven-length advantage into the turn through a half-mile in 45.73 as Castellano waited patiently to give Scuttlebuzz his cue. Scuttlebuzz and American Monarch moved in tandem late in the turn and swooped past Value Proposition and Milton the Monster to take dead aim at a game Proven Strategies. Scuttlebuzz gained the upper hand with a sixteenth to run and put away American Monarch with plenty in reserve to stave off the late charge of fellow New York-bred Therapist for a one-length score in a final time of 1:21.45.
It was a half-length back to American Monarch in third with Proven Strategies, Value Proposition, Milton the Monster, Big Package, Majestic Dunhill, Penalty and Snapper Sinclair rounding out the order of finish. Toro Strike was scratched.
Rodriguez said he was impressed with the effort, although he was concerned the Chad Brown-trained Value Proposition was in a winning position into the turn.
“I was very pleased with the way he settled with Javier. He was very comfortable and we knew there was a lot of speed in front of us. We just had to hope they would get tired, and they did,” Rodriguez said. “I thought the Chad Brown horse got the jump on us and we might finish second, but he just kept coming and then he drew away.”
Castellano, who won the inaugural running of the Elusive Quality in 2014 with Integrity, said he was content to settle off the sharp splits.
“I really liked the way he did it today. I knew there was a lot of pace in the race and he’s usually the type of horse who likes to come from behind,” Castellano said. “I think we make a great combination. I get along with the horse and I rode him last time and won on him. Today, I took my time and had a lot of patience to come from behind horses. It was a good run and Rudy did a great job and gave me the opportunity. It was better horses today and he stepped up in class. He showed up today.”
Scuttlebuzz was claimed for $30,000 out of a winning effort in a Big A turf sprint in April 2021 and has since posted a record of 5-1-1 in nine starts. Out of the Elusive Quality mare Elusive Rumour, Scuttlebuzz is a half-sibling to multiple graded stakes-placed Runaway Rumour and multiple stakes winner Myhartblongstodady.
Bred in the Empire State by Lawrence Goichman, Scuttlebuzz banked $55,000 in victory while improving his record to 17-7-2-3. He returned $33 for a $2 win ticket.
Live racing resumes Sunday at Belmont Park with a nine-race card highlighted by the $100,000 License Fee in Race 8. First post is 1:00 p.m. Eastern.
America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the spring/summer meet at Belmont Park on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit https://www.nyra.com/belmont/racing/tv-schedule.
Belmont Park Press Release
Photo: Scuttlebuzz (Susie Raisher Photo)