12/20/2012 2:00PM

Fair Grounds: Tour Guide a clear standout in Sugar Bowl on Super Santa Saturday

Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography
Tour Guide figures as a huge favorite when he faces just five others in the $60,000 Sugar Bowl Stakes.

Of the horses in the twin 2-year-old stakes on the Super Santa Saturday program at Fair Grounds, probably the one with the most potential to make some noise as the winter wears on is a colt named Tour Guide.

A drawing-off winner of his last start at Churchill Downs, Tour Guide figures as a huge favorite when he faces just five others in the $60,000 Sugar Bowl Stakes at the New Orleans track.

“His only race going two turns is a throwout,” said Bret Calhoun, who trains the homebred Tour Guide for Gary and Mary West. “He’s had some chronic respiratory issues, but we’ve got those cleaned up and behind us now.”

Tour Guide, by Broken Vow, has had four career starts: three sprints, all of them excellent, and an Oct. 6 route attempt at Delaware Park in which he faded badly.

“After the Delaware race he had minor throat surgery to correct some displacing he had going on,” said Calhoun. “He came back with that big effort in the Churchill allowance, and to be honest I was very surprised his numbers didn’t come back bigger.”

Tour Guide earned an 83 Beyer Speed Figure in that race.

“I thought about trying him going seven-eighths around two turns at Delta Downs,” Calhoun said, “but this spot in the Sugar Bowl was too good to pass up. We don’t have to travel, and it came up with a short field. We’ll sprint him this once and then probably try him back at two turns next time.”

Tour Guide will start from post 5 in the six-furlong Sugar Bowl, which is named in honor of the annual football game that will pit Louisville against Florida on Jan. 1 at the nearby Superdome. The logical choices to help fill out the exotics are Arbiter (post 1) and Ive Struck a Nerve (post 4, both still eligible for a first-level allowance.

The Sugar Bowl is carded as the sixth of 12 Saturday races, with post time set for 3:34 p.m. Central. Three races later, the filly counterpart to the Sugar Bowl will be run, presumably as a deeper and more competitive event with a field of eight. That’s the $60,000 A.B. Letellier Memorial (race 9, post 5:02), a six-furlong race that could have Coastal Sunrise (post 2) as a slight favorite as the lone prior stakes winner in the group.

One of the handful of up-and-comers in the Letellier lineup is Brotherhood Singer, who draws favorably in post 8. Like Tour Guide, she was an emphatic winner of an allowance sprint on the Nov. 24 Stars of Tomorrow card at Churchill.

“She really stepped up in that race,” said trainer Garry Simms, who has one of his stakes-winning 2-year-olds, Circle Unbroken, back in serious training at Fair Grounds. “She had a nice work over the track last weekend. This race should tell us more about her.”

Among the other possibilities in an interesting cast are Irish Lute and Assets of War, both maiden winners at the Churchill fall meet, and Finding More, a 44-1 allowance winner at Churchill for erstwhile owner Dan Kenny and trainer Kellyn Gorder.

The Letellier starts off a 50-cent late pick four wager (races 9-12) as the last of the five Super Santa Saturday stakes.