06/17/2006 12:00AM

Take D' Tour wires Phipps


ELMONT, N.Y. - Take D' Tour, an emerging force in the female handicap division, left the competition in the dust Saturday in the Grade 1, $300,000 at Belmont Park.

"She's just amazing to watch," said trainer David Fawkes. "Turning for home, it looks like they're coming to her and, all of a sudden, they start swimming."

The Take D' Tour tidal wave drowned a quality field, including Spun Sugar. Take D' Tour ($8.70) posted her fourth straight win, and the margin hasn't been close in any of them. The 5-year-old took the Phipps by 5 1/2 lengths over Nothing But Fun. The time was 1:42.63 for the 1 1/16 miles on a fast track.

The victory was all the more impressive in light of Take D' Tour's poor start. She hesitated slightly at the break before bounding to the front under Cornelio Velasquez.

"She didn't break all that well today," said Fawkes, who got his first Grade 1 victory. "We kind of thought Cornelio was pumping a bit too much on her, but she got to the lead fairly easily."

Once Take D' Tour took charge, the contest was over.

"I had a lot of horse at the top of the stretch," Velasquez said. "She ran big today."

Take D' Tour left no doubt she belongs at this level with the commanding victory in her Grade 1 debut.

For Fawkes, the biggest challenge is getting the mare to the track.

"She's pretty high-strung," said the Calder-based trainer. "She was a little strong in the post parade. Once she gets there, she's fine."

Fawkes has not settled on the Take D' Tour's next start. Long-range, the Breeders' Cup is on the horizon, but she would have to be supplemented.

Nothing But Fun gamely chased the winner to earn the place spot, 7 3/4 lengths in front of Balletto, who rallied from last in the seven-horse field for third.

Spun Sugar, the even-money favorite following her win in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn, was fourth after bobbling at the start.