Travel Column our play in the GII Rachel Alexandra S.

Florent Geroux gets the ride on Travel Colun in the Grade II Rachel Alexandra
Florent Geroux gets the ride on Travel Colun in the Grade II Rachel Alexandra

The $300,000 Grade II Rachel Alexandra Stakes is the third race in the All-Stakes Pick-4 at Fair Grounds and is the first major race on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks.

Our in-house handicapper previews the race and offers up his Picks. Our Race card is below along with all his thoughts...

This race preview was originally uploaded to the site as part of my Fair Grounds Late Pick-4 Analysis column for Saturday, February 13, 2021...

If she comes back in similar form to what we saw at the end of her juvenile campaign, I don’t think there’s any beating Travel Column (#8) in the G2 Rachel Alexandra. This filly had no business winning the G2 Golden Rod in her last start. She was pinched back at the start and had to deal with traffic nearly throughout, only gaining clearance in the final eighth of a mile, which she took full advantage of by gliding past runner-up Clariere (#1), who is a quality filly in her own right. Travel Column was many lengths the best in the Golden Rod and she still earned a field-best 85 Beyer Speed Figure on dirt despite the trouble she endured. Further cementing her status as a rock-solid favorite, she goes out for world-class trainer Brad Cox. It also wouldn’t be a surprise to see her take a step forward in her 3-year-old debut, which would be devastating to her competition.

It’s hard to know what to do with the fillies coming out of the Silverbulletday, which featured a glacial pace and was won in runaway fashion by Charlie’s Penny (#9). Charlie’s Penny didn’t have a particularly easy time of it in that race and still bounded home an easy winner in her first start around two turns, however I’m skeptical of the overall quality of that event. I don’t think she’s without a chance here, but that was a funny race and a tough one to gauge, so it’s probably wise to proceed with caution with her.

Silverbulletday runner-up Souper Sensational (#2) is also worth considering. She suffered from a very tentative ride in that race and was left with too much to do late in her dirt debut, but she did come with a decent run to get second. Again, it’s a difficult race to get a read on, but she didn’t get an ideal trip and her synth races at Woodbine suggest there’s more talent lurking under the surface.

Since I’m not quite sure what to do with these two, I think Clariere makes the most sense underneath Travel Column as the sky is still the limit for this impeccably-bred Steve Asumssen runner. Though she was no match for Travel Column in the Golden Rod, I believe she stacks up favorably to the Silverbulletday contingent.

Main:  8     Backup:  1,2,9

Order of preference:  8-1-9-2