The Blood-Horse has learned that Guided Tour, the game runner who earned the nickname "The Bus," was euthanized Dec. 21 after he broke down during a 1 1/4-mile race at Malaz racecourse in Ridayh, Saudi Arabia.
According to Moustapha Fostock, whose Buckram Oak Farm purchased Guided Tour from Morton Fink prior to his fifth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Classic, the 5-year-old gelding was running in a conditioned race that was a prep for the Jan. 11 Kings Cup. Fostock said the jockey had Guided Tour well-positioned before taking him to the outside at the top of the stretch. After switching leads or while he was switching leads, Guided Tour took a bad step and fractured his cannon bone and was euthanized at the track.
With the Dubai World Cup in the long-range plans for Guided Tour under new trainer Louis Albertrani, Fostock labeled the gelding's breakdown "a disaster. But in racing you have to take the bad with the good." Fostock said Buckram Oak may have another horse in the Kings Cup and World Cup.
Former owner Fink was saddened by Guided Tour's death.
"In my 30 years as an owner, I have never had horse like this who developed from nothing to be such a good horse," Fink said. "It was certainly a privilege to have had him."
Fink said Guided Tour had a unique personality. "He was so lazy in the morning he didn't want to do anything," the owner said. But in a race, "Larry Melancon (the regular rider) said you could put him wherever you wanted."
A son of Hansel bred in Kentucky by Woodlynn Farm, Guided Tour won 12 of 31 starts, with nine placings, and earned $1,964,253 while trained by Niall O'Callaghan. Although he did not win a grade I race, the Stephen Foster, in which Guided Tour defeated Captain Steve this year, has been upgraded from grade II to grade I for 2002.
Fink said he thought Guided Tour's final victory, in the Sept. 22 Kentucky Cup Classic (gr. II) at Turfway Park, was the best of his career because he changed running styles to win the 1 1/8-mile test.
"He went head to head with Balto Star and won it by neck," Fink explained. "That was not his running style but we knew we had to go with Balto Star if we wanted to win. It caught (jockey) Pat Day (on Balto Star) by surprise."