12/22/2012 5:48PM

Fair Grounds: Tour Guide odds-on Sugar Bowl winner, Calhoun pondering next start

Hodges Photography/Lynn Roberts
Tour Guide takes the six-furlong Sugar Bowl under Brian Hernandez Jr. Trainer Bret Calhoun is debating whether to stretch him out in distance in his next start.

NEW ORLEANS – Tour Guide performed as jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. and most of the betters expected Saturday, scoring a decisive victory in the Sugar Bowl Stakes as the odds-on favorite.

“He was the fastest horse in the race,” Hernandez said. “I just wanted to be a good passenger on him and let him do his thing.”

Tour Guide stalked longshot Seeking Payday through a quarter-mile run in 21.90 seconds and grabbed the lead after a half run in 45.62.

In the stretch, Tour Guide opened daylight, completing the six furlongs in 1:11.20 to finish 3 1/2 lengths clear of runner-up I’ve Struck a Nerve. Brown Laddie finished third, another 3 1/2 lengths back, in a field of six 2-year-olds.

Winning for the third time in five starts, Tour Guide paid $2.60. He was coming off a 4 1/2-length rout of first-level allowance rivals in a six-furlong race Nov. 24 at Churchill Downs.

Bret Calhoun, who trains Tour Guide for owners Gary and Mary West, said it’s possible that the colt, a son of Broken Vow and the Came Home mare Homefortheholidays, might run next in a two-turn race. “I’m not sure right now,” Calhoun said.

Tour Guide’s only out-of-the-money performance came in the mile-and-70-yard Dover in October at Delaware Park, but Calhoun said that respiratory problems might have contributed to the colt’s fifth-pace finish. Broken Vow is known for producing route runners.

“He’s kind of a smallish horse,” Calhoun said of Tour Guide. “He didn’t grow a lot. A lot of Broken Vows are very large horses.”