02/24/2003 1:00AM

Colorful Tour on his toes for Oaklawn Cap


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Colorful Tour showed himself to be a leading local contender for the Grade 2, $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap on April 5 with his determined win in the Grade 3, $100,000 Essex Handicap Saturday at Oaklawn Park.

The win was the colt's fourth straight, and he came out of the race bouncing, said trainer Noel Hickey, who bred and also owns Colorful Tour.

"He's a neat little horse, and the truth of the matter is, no one knows how good he is," said Hickey.

Hickey said Colorful Tour has been blocked in the stretch in each of his last three races. In the Essex, the colt once again found a way to win when he shot through an opening with good speed. Hickey credited jockey Luis Quinonez for a quick-thinking, gutsy ride aboard the colt, guiding him to that opening. He also praised the determination of Colorful Tour.

"He's game and he has ability," said Hickey, who plans to start Colorful Tour next in the $100,000 Razorback Handicap at Oaklawn on March 16.

This year, the colt's dam, For You and Me, is being bred back to his sire, Tour d'Or, who stands at Hickey's farm in Ocala, Fla.

Strong finish for Great Notion

Great Notion, a front-running colt who has won two of his three career starts, worked five furlongs in 1:02.80 on Monday over a good track in his final prep for the $75,000 Southwest Stakes for 3-year-olds on Saturday. The one-mile race will be the colt's first around two turns.

"Time-wise, his work was not fast. [But] what concerned me most was the way he finished up," said trainer Darrin Miller, who was aboard the colt for the work. "He kicked home very nice and galloped out well."

In his most recent start, Great Notion ran second to Champ Ali in the $50,000 Prevue at Turfway Park.

Also working for the Southwest on Monday were recent allowance winner Sir Cherokee, who drilled five furlongs in a bullet 1:01.80, and Alke, the runner-up in the Grade 3 Iroquois last out who went four furlongs in 47.60 seconds for trainer Bob Holthus. Holthus has won two of the last three runnings of the Southwest.

Other locals pointing for the Southwest are Comic Truth, runner-up to Outta Here in the $500,000 Delta Jackpot last out at Delta Downs in his last start, and recent allowance winner Premier Rocket.

The Southwest is one of two local preps for the Grade 2, $500,000 Arkansas Derby on April 12.

Doocy off mounts Wednesday

Jockey Tim Doocy, a two-time riding champ at Oaklawn, is named on several horses Wednesday, but will be off his mounts. He chipped the bone at the base of his left thumb on Friday, when a horse he was aboard fell coming back from a race. "At first I thought I had jammed my hand," he said.

Doocy hopes to resume riding by Saturday, but said his status for the weekend depends on the report he gets from his doctor Tuesday.

- Windward Passage, who won the Grade 3 Rebel at Oaklawn last year and also finished in a dead-heat for third in the Arkansas Derby, will be pointed for the Razorback, said trainer Steve Asmussen. The colt is a recent allowance winner at Oaklawn for Team Valor.

- There is a $14,842 pick-six carryover Wednesday.

- Tickets for the Arkansas Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association's annual dinner and dance Saturday are on sale in the organization's office on the backstretch.