Travel Column displayed outstanding resiliency to get up late in Saturday’s $200,000 Golden Rod S. (G2) at Churchill Downs, powering past Clairiere to score by a length. The gray 2-year-old Frosted filly appears to have a bright future for owner Larry Best and trainer Brad Cox.
Squeezed at the start, Travel Column was forced to alter course by about five paths in midstretch for clear sailing. She closed dramatically to complete the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:43.98, more than a half-second faster than male rivals in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) two races later.
“We broke a step slow and I tried to get her to relax as much as I could while saving as much ground as possible,” jockey Florent Geroux explained. “I got sort of a pocket trip around the far turn and when Simply Ravishing was flattening out, I just decided to go around everyone. She had a ton of energy left and was able to get up to win.”
Grade 1 winner Simply Ravishing, favored at 7-10 following a troubled fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), advanced to take a short lead on the far turn, and she turned for home with a host of pursuers.
Coach, who was exiting a win in the Oct. 25 Rags to Riches S. for Cox, made first run on the favorite. Clairiere advanced boldly into contention on the far outside. Travel Column launched her bid leaving the far turn, but she was forced to slam on the brakes with about a furlong remaining.
A runaway debut winner on the Kentucky Oaks undercard in early September, Travel Column improved to 2-for-3 with the remarkable triumph. She broke poorly when finishing a non-threatening third in the Oct. 2 Alcibiades (G1) at Keeneland.
“(Travel Column) overcame a lot of adversity today,” Cox said. “This was the game plan all along to run in this race (instead of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies) and give her the time she needs after the Alcibiades. She was very impressive breaking that slow and being stopped several times. Mentally that showed her maturity, but I still think she is learning.”
Clairiere, a Curlin filly making her second outing for Steve Asmussen after a sharp maiden tally, finished a respectable second as the 5-1 third choice, 2 1/2 lengths better than 6-1 Coach. Simply Ravishing finished another half-length back in fourth after weakening late.
The Road to the Kentucky Oaks qualifier awards 17 points (10-4-2-1) to the top four.
Princess Theorem, Alexandria, Lady Lilly, Lady Traveler, and Farsighted completed the order.
Bred in Kentucky by Mr. and Mrs. Bayne Welker Jr. and Denali Stud, Travel Column was purchased for $850,000 at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling sale. She’s out of the multiple stakes-winning Victory Gallop mare Swingit, who is also the dam of multiple Grade 1-placed Neolithic.