Updated on 09/15/2011 12:26PM

Guided Tour wins Foster

Michael J. Marten
Guided Tour edges clear of Captain Steve to capture Saturday's Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Guided Tour was late joining the field for the Grade 2, $831,000, Stephen Foster Handicap, becoming an 11th-hour entry only after trainer Niall O'Callaghan convinced owner Morton Fink that the gelding had a decent chance.

On Saturday, Guided Tour certainly wasn't late to the finish line in the Foster. After a terrific inside trip under veteran jockey Larry Melancon, Guided Tour overtook heavily favored Captain Steve near the wire to pull off an upset at 15-1.

Guided Tour was the beaten favorite in his previous start, the May 19 Hawthorne Gold Cup. But in the 1 1/8-mile Foster, after saving ground while tracking the pace set by Duckhorn, Guided Tour wheeled out to wear down a game Captain Steve, who also got a good stalking trip and took command turning for home.

"This horse runs hard every time," said Melancon, who scored the richest victory of his career.

O'Callaghan waited until Thursday, the day of entry, to reveal that Guided Tour would run in the Foster. He said he was hoping the gelding could finish as high as third, and said, "but if none of the favorites run their races, maybe anything can happen."

Before a crowd of 13,530, and over a fast track, Duckhorn set fractions of 23.58 seconds, 46.92, and 1:10.70 before Captain Steve, the 7-10 favorite under Jerry Bailey, overtook him. As both Bailey and Melancon went to fierce drives, Guided Tour, having angled out at the top of the stretch, prevailed by a half-length in 1:47.74. The winner paid $33.40 and topped a $69.60 exacta.

Brahms finished third, another 2 3/4 lengths back, followed by Duckhorn, Unshaded, Da Devil, Jadada, and Graeme Hall. Unshaded, the 3-1 second choice, launched a mild rally on the far turn before flattening out.

Guided Tour, a Kentucky-bred 5-year-old by Hansel, now has won 10 of 27 starts. The $515,220 winner's share Saturday raises his total earnings to $1,390,253.

Guided Tour carried 113 pounds, 10 fewer than top-weighted Captain Steve, who was making his first start since winning the $6 million Dubai World Cup on March 24.

Second money was $166,200, which lifts Captain Steve past Alysheba and John Henry into fourth place on the all-time earnings list. He now trails only Cigar, Skip Away, and Silver Charm. Captain Steve, 4, has earned nearly $6.7 million for owner Mike Pegram.

The Foster was worth six points to Guided Tour and four points to Captain Steve in the National Thoroughbred Racing Association's Champions series standings. Both now have 14 points, for a fifth-place tie. The leader, Include, has 22 points.

o Longshots dominated the pick four wager, which consisted exclusively of Churchill stakes. The payoff was $118,097.10 for a $1 bet. From an all-sources pick four handle of $145,799, only one winning $1 ticket was sold on the 6-4-4-2 combination. Incredibly, it was bought by an ontrack patron who bet just $8 by using 6-4-4-all.