May 26, 2024

Clairiere rallies to edge Travel Column in Rachel Alexandra

Clairiere wins the Rachel Alexandra Stakes (Hodges Photography)

Clairiere got up to defeat Travel Column in the final strides of the Saturday’s $300,000 Rachel Alexandra S. (G2) at Fair Grounds, earning a measure of revenge after being edged by her rival in their previous outing, the Golden Rod S. (G2).

The 1 1/16-mile Rachel Alexandra has proven to be an important prep race for the Kentucky Oaks, and a pair of quality three-year-old fillies were on display this year.

Clairiere, a Stonestreet Stables homebred daughter of Curlin, was making her third career start for Steve Asmussen. She settled at the back of the eight-horse field after an awkward start, saving ground most of the way from her innermost post with Joe Talamo.

Travel Column broke alertly from the outside. After stalking in second through opening splits in :23.73 and :47.99, the even-money favorite advanced to the lead on the far turn. Travel Column accelerated into the stretch with a clear lead, but Clairiere was starting to get uncorked behind her.

Clairiere, the 2.30-1 second choice, launched her bid on the far turn. Talamo angled his mount out in deep stretch as Travel Column dug in gamely, but Clairiere kept finding more, prevailing by a neck on the wire.

“This is a really nice filly, very professional,” Talamo said. “Steve gave me all the confidence in the world in her. Going in he said to just ride your race. I just kind of pointed her in the right direction and down the lane when I eased her out she was all racehorse. It’s fun to ride those kind. The sky is the limit, especially with that just being her third start.”

Clairiere stopped the teletimer in 1:45.34.

“I’m extremely excited about who she is,” Asmussen said. “This filly, the third run of her life, is just getting better. Races going further look like they’ll be right in her wheelhouse. For her to win the Rachel Alexandra in the Stonestreet silks is extremely special. We’ll discuss her next start with the team and she how we’re doing. This filly has a very bright future.”

Travel Column held second by 6 1/2 lengths, and the top two finishers appear to have a bright future.

“It was a good effort,” said Brad Cox, trainer of Travel Column. “We obviously would have liked to win, but I think she’s going to get a lot out of it. She was a wide into the first turn but that’s OK, given the post. She broke better today. I liked the trip. She ran well down the lane, and they really finished up solid. It’s her first race of the year and it’s something we can build on.”

Moon Swag rallied to nip Littlestitious by a neck for third. The top four were awarded points on a 5-20-10-5 scale in the Road to the Kentucky Oaks qualifier.

Becca’s Rocket, Souper Sensational, Zoom Up, and Off We Go completed the order.

Clairiere made her first two starts at Churchill Downs, winning her career debut over 1 1/16 miles in late October. The Kentucky-bred was caught in the final strides of the 1 1/16-mile Golden Rod a month later.

She’s the first foal out of three-time Grade 1 winner Cavorting, a daughter of Bernardini and earner of more than $2 million. Cavorting hails from the Grade 2-winning Carson City mare Promenade Girl.