- The Washington Times - Friday, October 28, 2005

He has been shipped across the country seven times. He has run at eight race tracks in four states. He has faced fields that are sub-par and those that include some of the nation’s best thoroughbred sprinters.

The one constant for Lost in the Fog since he started his career last November: He has won. Handily.

A perfect 10-for-10 in his career, including eight wins this year, Lost in the Fog will attempt to further his case to be named Horse of the Year — a rarity for a sprinter — tomorrow in the 22nd Breeders’ Cup at Belmont Park in New York. The Sprint is one of eight Cup races that are worth more than $14 million and feature 101 horses.

At even-money, the 3-year-old Lost in the Fog is the biggest favorite of the day and is competing in a race that is six furlongs, will be complete in less than 70 seconds and is equal parts demolition derby and 100-meter dash.

“He has the amazing respect of at least one man — the odds-maker,” trainer Greg Gilchrist said after his colt drew the No. 7 post in the 11-horse field. “I knew coming in, he’d be a short price and I suppose he’s deserving of it.”

Lost in the Fog is one of three undefeated horses in the Breeders’ Cup. First Samurai is the 8-5 favorite in the Juvenile and is 4-for-4 this year, and Shakespeare is the 3-1 favorite in the Turf and has won three straight races since returning from a 16-month layoff because of a knee fracture.

First Samurai is the son of Giant’s Causeway, who was second to Tiznow in the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Classic. First Samurai will be ridden by Jerry Bailey and won the Grade I Champagne by 23/4 lengths on Oct. 8 at Belmont.

“The Champagne was probably his best race,” Bailey said. “He ran pretty professionally — he ran straight and right off the hot pace. He’s still a big kid and is still improving.”

Bailey thinks he already has found his 2006 Kentucky Derby horse. He may not want to win the Juvenile, though — the winner of that race never has won the Derby seven months later.

“He’s the best 2-year-old I’ve ever been on,” Bailey said. “You dream about a horse like this coming along.”

Bailey also will ride Shakespeare. He won his first two races of 2004 but sustained a stress fracture in his right knee and trainer Bill Mott thought the injury was career-ending. But a screw was inserted to aid the healing and, following a 16-month layoff, the 4-year-old returned to win an allowance race at Saratoga in July and followed with three more wins.

The showcase race of the day, the Breeders’ Cup Classic, is worth $4.68 million because Starcraft owner Paul Makin supplemented $800,000 to make his horse eligible. Saint Liam is the 3-1 favorite and Rock Hard Ten and Borrego also are expected to contend.

A year ago, Lost in the Fog wasn’t being considered for any type of Breeders’ Cup race. Stabled in northern California, trained by the previously unknown Gilchrist and ridden by a jockey — Russell Baze — who’s in the Hall of Fame but had no Grade I wins in his illustrious career until this summer, he was off the radar.

But then Lost in the Fog started dominating his competition on the West Coast. Owner Harry Aleo was bombarded with offers from prominent owners who wanted to buy his horse and put him on the Triple Crown trail, which consists of races much longer than Lost in the Fog’s standard distance of 6 to 7 furlongs.

Aleo resisted the offers and Gilchrist resisted the temptation to attempt a Kentucky Derby run with Lost in the Fog. Instead, Gilchrist stayed the course, never entering a race longer than seven furlongs but going to where the competition was the best.

“I don’t think the horse would have been prepared properly to run a mile-and-a-quarter the first week in May [at the Kentucky Derby],” Gilchrist said. “And he certainly isn’t a horse we were going to hold back to 15th or 16th and then make a big run. We would have been right on the pace and that would have been suicide.”

Lost in the Fog is the classic front-runner — he explodes out of the gate and right to the lead. In only two of his races was he not in the lead the entire way. And his way of winning is also constant. His 10 wins have been by a combined 663/4 lengths. His closest race was a 11/4-length win in the Riva Ridge at Belmont.

Lost in the Fog’s main competition in the Sprint is Silver Train, who is the second choice at 8-1.

Anything can happen in the Breeders’ Cup because of the horses who have been shipped from Europe and the natural wear and tear of a full season of racing.

“These are the hardest races of the year to win,” said trainer Todd Pletcher, who will saddle eight horses in six races, including Ashado, the favorite in the Distaff. “Horses get injured and that’s part of the game but the ones who are showing up are the very best out there.”

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