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NEW ORLEANS, LA – The 2/1 favorite Travel Column flew to the lead near the top of the stretch and proved much the best as she championed Saturday’s $400,000 Twinspires.com Fair Grounds Oaks (G2).
Travel Column broke quickly from the far outside post 8 under Florent Geroux and settled into a close stalking position outside of Souper Sensational, who led heading into the clubhouse turn while posting opening fractions of :24.35, :48.64, and 1:12.25.
Advancing forward to take the lead near the exit of the far turn, Travel Column hit the 1/4 pole in full command and drew off impressively in the stretch, showing no signs of slowing.
The Brad Cox trainee crossed 2 3/4 lengths clear, completing the 1 1/16-mile fast dirt route in 1:42.75.
“Everything went great,” Geroux said. “She put me in race and I wanted to stay as quiet as I could. She showed a very nice kick and put them away pretty easy.”
Clairiere, who beat Travel Column in the local Rachel Alexandra Stakes (G2) last time out, was forced to the rear at the start but still rallied to take second by 2 lengths over Souper Sensational.
“The pace didn’t suit us today, it kind of hurt us,” said Clairiere jockey Joe Talamo. “Nonetheless, around the turn, I was smiling because she was making up some ground pretty good. Pace makes the race and obviously Travel Column had a perfect trip. I’ll tell you what, I think any added distance will definitely be a help. She doesn’t do a thing wrong and I don’t think you’ve seen the best of this filly.”
Obligatory, Li’l Tootsie, Zaajel, and Il Malocchio completed the order of finish.
Moon Swag scratched.
The Fair Grounds Oaks is part of the Road to the 2021 Kentucky Oaks prep race season. Travel Column earned 100 points for the win, with Clairiere receiving 40 for second, Souper Sensational 20 for third, and Obligatory 10 for fourth.
Travel Column’s win was her first of the year and second at the graded stakes ranks following last November’s Golden Rod Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs. The 3-year-old Frosted filly, purchased by OXO Equine for $850k as a yearling, improved her record to 5-3-1-1 with $517,184 earned.
“She got a good, clean trip,” said Cox, who confirmed that she will train up to the Kentucky Oaks on April 30. “When you’re trying to win races like the Kentucky Oaks, you have to keep moving forward. She’s a talented filly. She was an expensive yearling and it paid off.”
Travel Column returned $6.20 to win, $3.20 to place, and $2.40 to show. Clairiere brought back $3.40 to place and $2.60 to show. Souper Sensational paid $4.20 to show.
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