Unbeaten Lost in the Fog possible for Breeders’ Cup

Aug 9, 2005 6:11 AM

Larry Brown has made more career stops than Lost In The Fog and has more championships, and both will make their next starts in the state of New York. But Lost In The Fog is one up on the nomadic Brown. He’s never lost. That can happen when money is not a No. 1 priority.

Despite their honorable regimen, trainer Greg Gilchrist and 86-year-old owner Harry Aleo have taken their hits for not running Lost In The Fog in more challenging events, such as Triple Crown races.

But while Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo and Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner Afleet Alex are hors de combat, Lost In the Fog is still dancing. Next stop: the seven-furlong King’s Bishop Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 27 and a meeting with beaten Derby favorite Bellamy Road.

If all’s well beyond that, Lost In The Fog could run in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Belmont Park on Oct. 29, although he would have to be supplemented for $90,000. A word of caution to Breeders’ Cup Future Book bettors: Gilchrist says Lost In the Fog is only "possible" for the Sprint. The Malibu at Santa Anita on Dec. 26 is also under consideration. But first things first.

"You would have to think so," Gilchrist said when asked if the Grade I King’s Bishop would be Lost In The Fog’s toughest test, should Bellamy Road start. "But I don’t know. It seems every time you run it’s something new. I certainly have a lot of respect for Bellamy Road." For those who care, Bellamy Road earned the third-highest Beyer Figure this year at 120 in winning the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct by 17½ lengths on April 9.

Lost In The Fog, a 3-year-old Florida-bred son of Lost Soldier-Cloud Break, has never raced beyond seven furlongs. The 58-year-old Gilchrist dismisses finger-pointing naysayers like Bush shrugs off criticism of the war on terror.

"When those people start writing my check then I’ll probably be concerned about it," Gilchrist said with a touch of disdain. "But since they’re not writing my check I pay it no mind at all. It just seems like some people are more concerned finding out what a horse can’t do than applauding it for what it can. It takes all kinds.

"Just to make an analogy, you could probably ask any football coach if his team’s receiver is going down and out every play and the defense is giving him seven, eight, nine yards, are you going to keep throwing the ball to him until they show they can stop him? I would, and I’d be in the end zone before long. So until we can’t do this anymore, why would you not run in a race you’re 1-9 as opposed to being 5-1?"

But Gilchrist is not about to tempt the fates of additional furlongs at the moment.

"There’s no doubt he would win at a mile," Gilchrist said. "That’s not even a question in my mind. But past a mile, he would have to prove it to me. But would he have been tough in the Gotham, which is a one-turn mile at Aqueduct, or the Dwyer (also one turn at 11/16 miles)? I think so. I’m not concerned about a mile, but beyond that, you’re only guessing."

Barring anything unforeseen, Gilchrist expects Lost In The Fog to run next year at age four and into 2007 as a 5-year-old. There’s an outside chance he could race at six.

In his eight victories, Lost In The Fog’s average winning margin is nearly seven lengths. He has never been in a photo finish, always winning by daylight, by as little as 11/4 lengths and as much as 143/4 lengths. Three of his seven stakes wins are graded, but the King’s Bishop will mark his first start in a Grade I. Of his total earnings of $684,075, his biggest purse was $177,000 in the Grade II Carry Back Stakes in his last start on July 10.

"I think Mr. Aleo’s plans are to run the horse through his 5-year-old year if health issues don’t come up," Gilchrist said. "We have discussed the breeding opportunities and what the horse is worth, and I advised Mr. Aleo that racing through age five would probably be enough. But if the horse was going very strong at five, I doubt Mr. Aleo would stop there."

Gilchrist, meanwhile, is along for the ride. Any pebbles critics have thrown in his path have been pummeled deeper into the macadam with each Lost In The Fog romp.

"I’m not one who really sets goals or thinks about that stuff that much," he said. "But as far as enjoying the ride, you’d have to be from another planet not to be enjoying this."

Hall of Fame jockey Russell Baze has been aboard Lost In The Fog for every victory except the Riva Ridge, when Edgar Prado filled in while Baze was injured. Despite being in the Hall of Fame with more than 9,000 career wins and a solid bet to surpass Laffit Pincay Jr.’s record of 9,530, Baze and Lost In The Fog have managed to fly beneath the mainstream media’s radar.

Baze, too, has fielded his share of vitriolic verbiage because he has won the majority of his races in the Bay Area, a circuit littered with last-resort runners compared to major venues in Southern California, Kentucky and New York.

"Any rider who has had a career as good as Russell, winning more than 9,000 races and probably going to win 10,000, is pretty damn good," Gilchrist said. "Obviously, all the victories weren’t at Santa Anita, Hollywood Park, Belmont or Aqueduct or tracks like that. But at the same time, that’s a lot of races to win.

"I guarantee you riders like Chris McCarron and Eddie D. wouldn’t have ridden as many winners as Russell, because they wouldn’t have rode those old sore horses in $5,000 races like Russell has. Heck, I wouldn’t have wanted to go out and ride some of those horses he’s ridden. As far as Russell and I go, Lost In The Fog came along at a really great time for both of us."

And best of all, at last count, they’re still running.

The homestretch

Lost In The Fog worked five furlongs under Baze between races at Santa Rosa Saturday in a blistering 57.81 seconds.

”¡ Tip to Breeders’ Cup Future Book bettors: Repeating what we mentioned in this column several weeks ago, Kela has been retired so don’t waste money on him in the Sprint, and Pico Central likely will be retired, so ditto on him. Some race books are still listing those horses. Also, Southern Image has been retired; he won’t run in the Classic. Rock Hard Ten, Funny Cide and Imperialism have had their training regimens impaired and would need a perfect scenario to make the Classic. Right now their chances are more obscure than the "A" on Vladimir Guerrero’s batting helmet.

”¡ Are you like me? Are you leaning towards an "over" parlay on how long it will take to find Natalee Holloway and the murderer of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman?