Oaks Profile of Travel Column

Horse Racing Radar
Valerie Mellema
Valerie Mellema is a Staff writer for Horse Racing Radar
Thursday, April 1, 2021

TRAVEL COLUMN started her racing career at Churchill Downs on September 4, 2020 where she broke her maiden going 6 furlongs on the dirt. In her first race, she showed excellent turn of foot for a two year old. She went three wide around the turn, took the lead at the quarter pole and opened up down the stretch winning by four a quarter lengths. 

Less than a month later, trainer Brad Cox entered her in the Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland where she went the 1 1/16 miles distance placing third behind SIMPLY RAVISHING and CRAZY BEAUTIFUL. 

From there she solidified her position in the Oaks rankings by winning the Golden Rod Stakes (G2) on November 28th where she beat CLARIERE by a length. She met CLARIERE again in the Rachel Alexandra Stakes (G2) at Fair Grounds, finishing second to CLARIERE by just a neck. 

Staying in New Orleans, she ran again on March 20th to take the win in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) as well. She had an ideal trip in the race, which earned her 100 qualifying points. CLARIERE tried to play catch-up running from last, but Florent Geroux had TRAVEL COLUMN perched just off the pacesetter SOUPER SENSATIONAL going a moderate clip. She took over the lead in the upper stretch and widened it to 2 ¾ as she hit the wire, earning a career-best 90 Beyer Speed Figure. 

Trainer Brad Cox was happy with her performance, but knows she's going to need to move forward in order to do well against horses from around the country. Beating CLARIERE so decisively really put the filly on the map. She had a dominating performance and really began to solidify her spot on the Oaks trail with this win. When it comes to Oaks horses, many liken Brad Cox to being the Bob Baffert of the Derby. Cox has won two of the last three runnings of the Oaks. 

TRAVEL COLUMN was an $850,000 purchase at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale. She is owned by Larry Best of OXO Equine. He is known for being a big spender at the sales and TRAVEL COLUMN could give him a big win. She was bred by Mr. and Mrs. Bayne Welker Jr. and Denali Stud. 

TRAVEL COLUMN is by FROSTED and is the only graded winner and one of two black type winners from his first crop. She is also one of 19 graded race winners and one of 34 black-type winners out of VICTORY GALLOP daughter, SWINGIT. The Welkers acquired SWINGIT for just $50,000 at the 2016 Keeneland November Sale carrying a BODEMEISTER foal. The mare has proven to be quite the bargain buy as that foal was a colt who sold for $310,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Sale and TRAVEL COLUMN was purchased by OXO Equine a year later at the same sale. The mare's 2019 colt by AMERICAN PHAROAH has proven the mare's value even more as he summoned $1.25 million from bloodstock agent Marette Farrell for Speedway Stables. 

For the Welker's, breeding a filly like TRAVEL COLUMN has been a dream come true. Chris and Bayne Welker own Spring Ridge Farm, and Chris runs the farm, while her husband is Executive Vice President of Fasig-Tipton. Their 70-acre facility includes Chris, two full-time employees and weekend help from her husband. They have five mares of their own, three client mares, seven yearlings and two geldings. They are excited for the possibility of an Oaks win but are already grateful for the opportunity that TRAVEL COLUMN has provided thus far.


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