07/20/2001 11:00PM

Guided Tour by four lengths


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Guided Tour cemented his position as the top handicap horse in the Midwest with an authoritative four-length win over A Fleets Dancer in the $400,000 Washington Park Handicap Saturday at Arlington. Guided Tour, a 5-year-old gelding by Hansel, now has won consecutive Grade 2 handicaps, having taken the $750,000 Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs on June 16.

It was the third start and first win in Chicago this year for Guided Tour, trained by Niall O'Callaghan. Guided Tour lost to Chicago Six in the National Jockey Club Handicap and to Duckhorn in the Hawthorne Gold Cup, but avenged both defeats Saturday. Guided Tour ran down Duckhorn, the early pacesetter in the Washington Park, and easily held off the late rallies of A Fleets Dancer and Chicago Six, who wound up fourth. Duckhorn held third, while Milwaukee Brew never was in contention and finished fifth and last.

Duckhorn clearly was the controlling speed in 10-furlong Washington Park, and bettors made him the 6-5 favorite. But Larry Melancon, Guided Tour's regular rider, never let Duckhorn out of his sights, and they stalked a quick pace of 46.77 seconds for a half-mile and 1:10.41 for six furlongs. Guided Tour overtook Duckhorn at the quarter pole.

The second choice, Guided Tour paid $5. He was timed in 2:00.76 on a fast track.