By Tom Quigley
$500,000 Woodward Handicap (G1) at Saratoga
Race 11 (Saturday, September 5, 2020: 5:30 p.m./ET; 2:30 p.m./PT)
One mile and a quarter on the main track (three-year-olds and up)
A third of the 12 races on Saratoga’s Saturday card are graded stakes races, including the Woodward, which has been won by a long list of champions like ALYSHEBA, CIGAR, FOREGO and KELSO. This year, six runners look to add their name to that impressive group of previous Woodward (G1) winners. Let’s preview the field in post position order:
#1 MATH WIZARD wheels back in eight days after an 11-length loss in the Charles Town Classic (G2). Two starts ago, he finished second behind #4 GLOBAL CAMPAIGN in the Monmouth Cup (G3). His most notable win on his resume came last year in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1), defeating multiple graded stakes winner MR. MONEY and 2019 Preakness (G1) winner WAR OF WILL.
#2 TACITUS, the 124 lb. highweight, is a royally bred Juddmonte Farms homebred that has always been well regarded. After a number of in-the-money finishes against top Grade I company around the world, he put it all together in the July 4 Suburban (G2), winning that mile-and-a-quarter contest by over eight lengths. Is the clear class of the race, having finished close to ultra-talented horses like MAXIMUM SECURITY, MIDNIGHT BISOU and VINO ROSSO within the last year.
#3 MORETTI was no match for #2 TACITUS in the Suburban (G2), finishing second but losing by over eight lengths. He exited that race to win the mile-and-three-quarter Birdstone Stakes last month convincingly.
#4 GLOBAL CAMPAIGN dueled on the lead and fended off a late challenge from Grade I winner #1 MATH WIZARD in the Monmouth Cup (G3) in his last race on July 18. Last year, this son of CURLIN finished three lengths behind #2 TACITUS in the Jim Dandy (G2) over this track and iis a versatile colt that can be close to the pace or sit off and make a run depending on how the race shape unfolds. Definite contender.
#5 SPINOFF was an easy winner of the Alydar Stakes over this track while racing nine furlongs last month and returns to face tougher customers in this spot. He is conditioned by Todd Pletcher, who is having a terrific Saratoga meet (27-for-107, 25% win percentage) and will be ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., which is also a positive.
#6 PRIORITIZE sat off the speed before surging late to win a second level allowance race over this track, beating a three-year-old colt (MONEY MOVES) who is running in the Kentucky Derby. Appears to prefer dirt over turf, but is a notch or two below the best signed on.
1. #4 GLOBAL CAMPAIGN – Likes to win races (five-for-eight lifetime).
2. #2 TACITUS - The one to fear most.
3. #5 SPINOFF – Likes this main track.
LONGSHOT VALUE PLAY - #3 MORETTI – Has finished first or second in all six starts this year.
I’ll make a straight win bet on my top choice and box my top three selections in exactas.
BANKROLL PLAY ($50 Budget)
$20 Win: #4 GLOBAL CAMPAIGN $5 Exacta Box: #2 TACITUS and #4 GLOBAL CAMPAIGN and #5 SPINOFF ($30).
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