02/22/2003 1:00AM

Oaklawn Park: Colorful Tour wins fourth in a row

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HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Colorful Tour won his fourth consecutive race Saturday when he drove to a 1 1/2-length win over Ask the Lord in the Grade 3, $100,000 Essex Handicap at Oaklawn Park.

It was another nose back in third to Premeditation.

Crafty Shaw, the 3-5 favorite, launched a stretch bid and finished fourth over the muddy track.

Colorful Tour ($12.20) broke well and stalked pacesetter Makors Mark in second through an opening half-mile in 47.87 seconds in the 1 1/16-mile race. Others advanced past the eventual winner on the final turn, but he quickened through the stretch and went on to cover the distance in 1:46.60.

Luis Quinonez rode the winner for Noel Hickey, who owns, trains and bred Colorful Tour.

Colorful Tour, who is 4, earned $60,000 for the win in the Essex. His record now stands at nine wins from 15 starts for earnings of $392,444.

Colorful Tour's win streak started on Dec. 7 when he won the $43,000 Demetri's Boy for Illinois-breds at Hawthorne. From there he won that track's $50,000 Chicago Six against open company on Jan. 1, then an optional claiming race at Oaklawn on Feb. 1.

Attendance on Saturday was 15,483.