SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Sagamore Farm and WinStar Farm’s Global Campaign made his Grade 1 debut a winning one in when breaking alertly, setting a pressured pace up front, and shaking off a confrontation from heavy favorite Tacitus to score a 1 3/4-length victory in Saturday’s 67th running of the $500,000 Woodward (G1) going 1 1/4 miles over the main track at Saratoga Race Course.

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The 4-year-old Curlin bay entered the Woodward off a 1 1/2-length triumph in the Monmouth Cup (G3) on July 18, a race combined with his win in the Peter Pan (G3) last May at Belmont Park, that gave trainer Stanley Hough confidence that his colt would pass the classic distance test.

“I gained a lot of confidence in his last race when he took a couple challenges and drew off a bit,” said Hough, who earned his first Grade 1 win since Request for Parole won the 2004 United Nations at Monmouth Park. “I thought that was a good sign. His mile and 1/8 races were pretty good between the Peter Pan and the last race. One thing about this horse: if he’s ever got to lead at some point or another, he’s won the race. The only time he hasn’t won, he never got the lead.”

Breaking from post 4 under Luis Saez, Global Campaign broke alertly and took command with Tacitus one length off to his outside through an opening 1/4-mile in an 24.65 seconds and the 1/2-mile in 48.89 seconds over the fast main track.

Approaching the far turn, the field became more strung out as Tacitus inched his way to even terms with the pacesetter through 3/4 in 1:11.90. Saez was all-out aboard Global Campaign approaching the 1/4 pole while jockey Jose Ortiz gave Tacitus his cue.

Down the stretch, Global Campaign extended his advantage with Tacitus still putting in a furious bid to the outside. Global Campaign kept Tacitus at bay, hitting the wire in a final time of 2:01.40. Tacitus held off a late charge from Prioritize, who was another 1 1/4 lengths back in third.

Spinoff and Math Wizard completed the order of finish. Moretti was scratched.

Saez, who notched his eighth stakes win of the Saratoga meet, was unfazed by the pressure applied by Tacitus around the far turn.

“He has a lot of speed,” Saez said. “He broke pretty good from the gate today and was right there. He controlled the pace. I had a lot of pressure, but I wasn’t worried about it. He kept fighting and he never gave up.”

The Woodward was Saez’s first time climbing aboard Global Campaign since his third-place effort in the Jim Dandy (G2) last July. He piloted the horse in his first 5 starts, 3 of which were victories, including the Peter Pan.

“He’s grown a lot. He feels stronger [and] he’s better,” Saez said.

Credit: NYRA / Chelsea Durand

Hough was highly pleased with the effort and said that Global Campaign will one day make a good stallion, given his immaculate pedigree.

“I’m more than satisfied,” Hough said. “He beat a good horse. We’re all excited. It’s a great win. That’s what the game is all about. You try to develop horses that will go on and be a sire and I believe he’ll make a good one.”

Global Campaign, a now three-time graded stakes winner over that many tracks, earned his sixth victory in 9 lifetime starts in the Woodward, while increasing his career earnings to $781,080.

Bred in Kentucky by co-owner WinStar Farm, Global Campaign is out of the A.P. Indy mare Globe Trot, who also produced Grade 1 winner Bolt d’Oro as well as multiple stakes winner Sonic Mule. He was purchased for $250,000 from the 2017 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, where he was consigned by Select Sales.