Sagamore Farm and WinStar Farm's Global Campaign is doing well following his 1 ¼-length win in Saturday's Grade 3, $300,000 Peter Pan for 3-year-olds, trainer Stanley Hough said Sunday morning.
Making just his fourth career start, the Curlin colt appeared to clip heels at one point during the Peter Pan, though his conditioner said Global Campaign shrugged off the light contact to finish strong, winning his first career graded stakes after running fifth in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth in his stakes debut last out on March 2 at Gulfstream Park.
“He came back good; he got jumped on a little bit from behind, probably out of the gate since I didn't see any other place where it could have been, but it's no problem. It just grabbed him a little bit but other than that, he came back great,” Hough said. “He handled the distance and we're really proud of him.”
Global Campaign earned a 101 Beyer Speed figure stretching out to 1 1/8 miles for the first time, posting a final time of 1:46.71 to top a five-horse field. The Peter Pan, a traditional local prep for the 1 ½-mile Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes, could set up the Kentucky-bred for a start in the “Test of the Champion” on June 8.
Hough also said Global Campaign could possibly look at the one-mile Grade 3, $250,000 Dwyer on Stars and Stripes Day July 6 at Belmont or even the Grade 3 Ohio Derby in June at Thistledown.
“He's a very talented horse and it was good to see him get that behind him,” Hough said. “Everything is on the table. I wouldn't say which spot necessarily he should go. It could be the Belmont or the Dwyer or the Ohio Derby. There's a lot of options right now. He'll go back to Churchill, he'll leave tomorrow and get there Tuesday, and we'll take it a day at a time. Obviously, the Belmont would be a great thrill, I just can't say we're pointing towards that way.”
Purchased for $250,000 at the 2017 Keeneland September Sale, Global Campaign won his debut on January 5 at Gulfstream after going unraced as juvenile. After defeating allowance company stretching out from seven furlongs to 1 1/16 miles on the same track in February, Global Campaign sustained a minor injury in a fifth-place finish in the Fountain of Youth on March 2, grabbing a quarter and was given some time off to recover.
Despite missing some training, Global Campaign handled the one-turn Peter Pan with aplomb, outkicking the Mark Casse-trained Sir Winston to win his first start outside of the Sunshine State.
Should Global Campaign run in the Belmont Stakes, it would give Hough his first career starter in the final leg of the Triple Crown. Hough's best finish in a Classic came in 1982 when Reinvested finished third in the Kentucky Derby.
“It would be great, no question. It'd be a real honor and something to cross off that list, but that's a race that you really need to work into,” Hough said. “It's very difficult because that likely will be the last time they run a mile and a half on the dirt. It's a special race. People don't really know how hard it is even to get there. I've run a lot of horses and never ran one there.”
Sagamore Farm's Recruiting Ready also endured an early bump but came out of his stakes in good order after running second to Firenze Fire in the six-furlong $150,000 Runhappy on Saturday.
Off as the slight favorite, Recruiting Ready, making his first Belmont start since running fifth in the Grade 2 True North in June, finished on the board for the fourth time in five starts, including a win in the Grade 3 Gulfstream Park Sprint on March 2.
“He too stumbled at the gate for some reason and grabbed his quarter, it seems like that's happened to us lately, but he's fine and it heals pretty quick,” Hough said. “He's a game horse. But Firenze Fire ran great. I think if he didn't stumble and grab himself he might have been a little closer, but he'd still be second. There wasn't any horse that was going to beat him yesterday.”
Hough said he's not sure when the 5-year-old son of Algorithms will run next.
Hough is credited by Equibase with starting his trainer career in 1969, when he saddled 33 winners in 131 starts, and has amassed 2,177 career winners with 12,763 starters entering Sunday.
Hough retired in 2012 but returned in 2018, with Global Campaign and Recruiting Ready giving the 72-year-old Illinois native his first graded stakes wins since 2011. Hough had a streak of five straight years capturing the leading trainer title at Calder Race Course in Florida starting in 1976, earning induction into the track's hall of fame.
Hough has also mentored many future successful trainers, including Gary Contessa and Steve Margolis.
“It's great, I wouldn't have come back unless there some horses I could be involved in developing,” Hough said. “It's been a fun time and it's been great working Sagamore Farm. There's a few more horses I'd like to see develop, and I might just retire again.”
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