'Bus' Won't Stop for Clark Handicap; Will Ship to Saudi Arabia

'Bus' Won't Stop for Clark Handicap; Will Ship to Saudi Arabia
Photo: AP/ Garry Jones
Guided Tour, winning the Stephen Foster.
The horse affectionately referred to as "The Bus" due to his slow morning works will not start in the Clark Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs later this month. Instead, Guided Tour -- the winner of four grade II races this year -- will begin his trip to Saudi Arabia Monday where he will be prepared for a start in the Jan. 11 King's Cup for new owners Buckram Oak Farm.

Buckram Oak Farm purchased a share of Guided Tour prior to the 5-year-old gelding's fifth-place performance in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) and trainer Niall O'Callaghan had hoped to saddle Guided Tour one more time in the Clark. Louis Albertrani, who conditioned Artax, will train Guided Tour in Saudi Arabia.

"He's been a fantastic horse," said O'Callaghan. "He's pretty much a barn pet. He's a very good-natured horse who's a fun horse to be around."

Guided Tour has won 12 of 30 career starts for earnings of nearly $2 million, with almost $1.4 million of that coming this year. A son of Hansel, Guided Tour was produced from the Topsider mare Dancing Mahmoud, who sold for $3 million in foal to Seeking the Gold earlier this week at the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale.

A winner of seven stakes races, Guided Tour has yet to win a grade or group I but may be pointed toward the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) in March.

"I'm going to have mixed emotions, because I love the horse," said O'Callaghan. "He's going to a good and conscientious guy. I told him all the little things -- like the only time you know that he's training good is when he's sprinting off the training track and back to the barn. And he won't run without peppermints -- that's the key to him. I told him that the horse stops cold when he's walking or jogging by because he knows he'll get a peppermint. He's kind of like a baby that cries for milk and gets it. That's what Guided Tour has been like."

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