Fair Grounds Oaks Preview: Travel Column gets the nod

Steve Asmussen trains one of the two big favorites for the Fair Grounds Oaks but does our in-house handicapper think he'll be smiling come the end of the day?
Steve Asmussen trains one of the two big favorites for the Fair Grounds Oaks but does our in-house handicapper think he'll be smiling come the end of the day?

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The Road to the Kentucky Oaks flows through the Fair Grounds this Saturday afternoon with Race 13 on the card being the Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks. Steve Asmussen and Brad Cox train the two favorites but does our in-house handicapper agree with the Morning Line prices? His preview is down the page.

The Fair Grounds Oaks Race Card with all your M/L Odds is embedded below.

Following their strong performances in the G2 Rachel Alexandra a month ago, the G2 Fair Grounds Oaks appears to be a two-horse race between Clariere (#6) and Travel Column (#8), especially considering the fact none of the new shooters are terribly intriguing. While Clariere got the better of Travel Column in the Rachel Alexandra, I’m firmly in the camp of the latter, who I believe may have needed the race and should improve in her second start of the year.

It’s possible that Clariere is just developing faster than her main rival, but I thought there was no comparison between these two when they met in their 2-year-old finales in the G2 Golden Rod at Churchill Downs. Even with heaps of trouble in that race, Travel Column made short work of Clariere and was much the best — way better than her margin of victory would indicate. Based on the Golden Rod I couldn’t help but love Travel Column in the Rachel Alexandra, however after chasing a fast pace she came up a little short in the end as Clariere, who sat a perfect trip, inched by her in the final strides. Just a neck separated them in that race, though, and I do think Travel Column may have been given a race by her trainer Brad Cox, who similarly had Louisiana Derby contender Mandaloun primed for a top effort in his second start at the meet. If Travel Column gets back to the kind of effort she delivered in the Golden Rod, I don’t think Clariere has a prayer.

Although I think the two local fillies are the ones you want, I’d be remiss to not mention Obligatory (#5), who improved by leaps and bounds in her 3-year-old debut last out at Gulfstream, earning a competitive 82 Beyer Speed Figure in her maiden breaker. I’m very interested to see how she runs here since her trainer Bill Mott has been crushing it at Gulfstream but hasn’t been having as much success elsewhere during the winter. For now, I’m taking a wait-and-see approach.

Main:  8     Backup (priority):  6

Order of preference:  8-6-5-4

 

For all of our selections and Free Picks across the States this Saturday, then please check out our Free Horse Racing Picks page - linked to below.

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