07/24/2002 11:00PM

Colorful Tour's stature goes past merely physical


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Take a good look at Colorful Tour in Saturday's Round Table Stakes - if you can find him.

The diminutive Colorful Tour surely will be the smallest horse in the Round Table, but he is the best Illinois-bred 3-year-old in training right now.

Colorful Tour has won 5 of 8 lifetime starts, but on dirt he has won 5 of 6 with a second-place finish. He has beaten the best horses of his generation in the major statebred stakes, winning the Jim Edgar Futurity last winter, the Land of Lincoln this March and the Springfield here June 22 in his last race.

The Round Table will be Colorful Tour's first dirt stakes race in open company.

"I call him the little big horse," said trainer Alfonso Razo. "He's small, but he's got a great big heart."

Razo is in the midst of what he calls the opportunity of a lifetime. Razo started training horses 30 years ago in Mexico City, but was treading water on the Chicago circuit until late spring. Then, Noel Hickey, whose Irish Acres Farm bred and owns Colorful Tour, asked Razo if he wanted to come to the Northern Illinois Equine Training Center - about 30 miles north of Arlington - and train the Irish Acres horses.

"It's the best chance that I've ever had," said Razo.

Upon arriving at the training center, Razo took a look at the stock he'd be overseeing.

"The first time I saw this horse, I thought he was the pony," Razo recalled.

"They told me, this is the best horse that you have. He looks a little like a pinto horse. Sometimes you can't even see him in a race when he's between horses."

Razo, who rides Colorful Tour during morning training, said the colt can be lazy at times and does not do a lot in his works. "But when you get him in the gate, he's ready to go," said Razo.

Razo is ready to go too, and can hardly contain his excitement over Saturday's race. "This could be super, really super," he said.

Albarado and Lanerie entering fray

The complexion of the local jockey colony is about to change considerably, with Robby Albarado set to begin riding regularly here Saturday and Corey Lanerie to begin accepting mounts Wednesday. Albarado won the riding title here in 1996, while Lanerie won 32 races here last season.

Lanerie took the riding title at the recently concluded Lone Star meet by a margin of 30 wins, in great part because he rode first call for trainer Steve Asmussen.

* Jockey Frank Alvarado, who was named on a mount for trainer Wayne Catalano here Wednesday, has elected to remain at Colonial Downs. Tom Morgan, who was to have been Alvarado's agent here, said a plane ticket had been purchased for Alvarado, who at the last minute changed his mind about relocating.

* Trainer Pat Byrne said that Duckhorn has been turned out for 30 days and will be pointed to a fall campaign. Duckhorn, who won a Churchill allowance race in his last start, is likely to make his next start on the Maryland Million card.