Not only does he tackle a more difficult field, but it's also a larger one now with 14 older horses scheduled to navigate the one-turn mile. Because of his proven class and talent, Global Campaign still gets the nod.
This son of Curlin made his stakes debut last year in the Fountain of Youth (G2) and gave a tremendous effort by running close to Hidden Scroll’s suicidal pace before fading to a “good” fifth. He only lost by 5 ½ lengths to Code of Honor in a race in which he grabbed a quarter and had to miss time.
Global Campaign then picked up his first graded stakes win in the Peter Pan Stakes (G3) at Belmont. While he did look tired late, he held off next-out Belmont Stakes hero Sir Winston by 1 ¼ lengths.
Global Campaign skipped the Belmont while dealing with nagging foot issues and waited for the nine-furlong Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) at Saratoga going same distance as the Peter Pan. Perhaps the two-turn configuration or layoff hampered Global Campaign, as he hung late for third. Some backers criticized the fact that Luis Saez failed to take advantage of Global Campaign’s speed.
Global Campaign went on the shelf from there. He did not return until April 25, when he took an optional claimer at Gulfstream by 1 ½ lengths over fellow stakes winner Yorkton.
Global Campaign only earned a 116 TimeformUS Speed Figure in his comeback race while needing to work defeat Yorkton and Majestic Dunhill. But the return race works as a warm-up for most horses, especially ones with higher aspirations moving forward.
Global Campaign can build off his 116 in this spot and hit a figure in the 120s as a stronger 4-year-old horse, assuming he get a good trip.
The pace scenario is a small concern as Global Campaign could find himself chasing hot fractions with Alwaysmining, Backyard Heaven and Diamond King contesting the lead. But Global Campaign can sit a two or three lengths off those horses.
With his warmup race in tow, Global Campaign has the fitness to move forward. This is the type of horse that can move on to Grade 1 races and prove successful with physical issues as a 3-year-old behind him. At his morning line price of 9/2, he is a value horse.
The second-best option in the Blame Stakes is Owendale, who makes his first start off a 176-day layoff. Obviously, that is of concern, but he can also defeat this field based on his proven class shown last year.
Owendale posted a 12-1 closing upset in the Lexington Stakes (G3) at Keeneland in the spring of 2019. He followed that up with a third-place finish in the Preakness Stakes.
Owendale then picked up another graded stakes victory in the Ohio Derby (G3) by a neck over Math Wizard, who went on to capture the Pennsylvania Derby (G1). Owendale also backed up the Ohio Derby by taking the Oklahoma Derby (G3).
One month later, Owendale failed in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, finishing a dismal 10th by 22 ½ lengths after some minor traffic problems
Owendale’s poor effort is forgivable because the Breeders’ Cup Classic is a difficult race that attracts the best dirt routing horses. Some 3-year-olds may require more seasoning before entering such a grueling contest, even if they fared well in the age-restricted graded stakes races earlier in the year. For example, compare McKinzie’s effort in the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Classic to his runner-up finish last year.
To Owendale’s credit, he bounced back later in November with a runner-up in the Clark Stakes (G1) at Churchill, earning a 119 TimeformUS Speed Figure. If Owendale is ready to fire, he can win.
According to TimeformUS, Brad Cox is hitting at 19 percent with horses making their first start in 132-220 days out of 26 entries this season.
For a longshot, one horse to consider is Bourbon Resolution, especially if his morning line odds of 30-1 hold up. He also makes his second start off a layoff.
Bourbon Resolution only closed for a mild fourth in the seven-furlong Sir Shackleton Stakes at Gulfstream on March 28, losing by 7 ¾ lengths to Vekoma.
But the overall effort is better than the running line initially looks. Yorkton set a slow pace in the Sir Shackleton, getting the first two fractions in 22.45 and 45 flat. The stalking Vekoma passed Yorkton in the lane, but only because he is classier horse destined for better races.
Bourbon Resolution rallied all the way from 10th. Why did he settle that far back early? Last year, he always secured a stalking position or sat in midpack, not too far behind.
Expect more speed and a better effort from Bourbon Resolution second off the bench. While he might not outkick Global Campaign or Owendale, he can scare them.
On paper, Global Campaign and Owendale are the two best horses in the field, while the rest of them look like lifetime Grade 3 or borderline Grade 2 runners. As long as those two horses' value does not get crushed, both of them are usable in this spot. If there is room to throw in Bourbon Resolution as a B or C option, use him as well.