11/02/2005 12:00AM

BC figs say nobody's special

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Distaff winner Pleasant Home freaked, running a 107 Beyer.

PHILADELPHIA - The Beyer Speed Figures from Breeders' Cup Day reveal what pretty much has been obvious since Ghostzapper retired in June. There is no other-dimension speed-figure horse out there at the moment. There is no horse capable of getting into the rarefied air of 120 and beyond.

The best dirt number was the 114 Silver Train earned in the Sprint.

The best grass number was the 114 Shirocco got in the Turf. Nice numbers by nice horses. Just not overwhelming.

Juvenile Fillies winner Folklore ran nearly two seconds slower than Stevie Wonderboy. Folklore ran slowly after setting fast fractions. Stevie Wonderboy, ran fast after closing behind similar fast fractions. Folklore got an 87. Stevie Wonderboy got a terrific 104, an excellent number for a Kentucky Derby wannabe in late October and a giant improvement on the 86 he got in the Sept. 7 Del Mar Futurity.

Proving again that lone speed at any distance on any surface is always dangerous, Intercontinental got a 107 when loose on the lead in the Filly and Mare Turf. It was a career top. Her previous best was a 103 in June 2004. Defending champ Ouija Board came close to the 108 she got at Lone Star.

Artie Schiller's career-best 110 in the Mile was just enough to get him the Grade 1 win that his career certainly justified.

Leroidesanimaux ran a few points below his typical Beyer level. The 115 he got in the Atto Mile was really the aberration. I took a stand against Leroy by hitting the all button on my pick four.

It really pays to listen in the days leading up to the Cup. Equally as important, you need to know whom to listen to. If trainer D. Wayne Lukas tells you he loves his horse, you ignore him. He loves them all.

If trainer Shug McGaughey says one of his horses should not be 30-1 and is better than she looks, you listen. On Shug's advice, I used Distaff winner Pleasant Home on my pick four ticket. When he speaks and his filly is 30-1, she can be included.

Did I expect what went down? Uh, no.

Her previous top Beyer was 95. I was thinking maybe she could improve a few points in a race in which it was not going to take much more than 100 to win. She freaked, running out of the TV set and earning a 107.

I listened to trainer John Gosden when he said Shirocco would love soft turf and would win the Turf.

I knew nothing about Shirocco, but I listened and included him on my pick four ticket.

I did not need any help with the Classic. I thought it was a one-horse race. I knew Jerry Bailey would find a way to get Saint Liam into a perfect spot. It is what he does. And he does it better than any rider who ever lived. By Tuesday, that was one winner I was sure of. I wasn't listening to anybody. Bailey got the right spot and Saint Liam did the rest, earning a solid 112 Beyer.

Even with some of the long prices, most of the results were not at all outrageous, especially if you were fortunate enough to spread in the races in which an upset was most likely.

I was dead wrong on the Sprint. As a charter member of the Lost in the Fog fan club, I singled him in the pick six and never thought twice about it.

I thought he was lone speed against an undistinguished bunch.

Here is what I know: It is impossible for any horse to run 10 consecutive triple-digit Beyer Figures and not have great talent. When that horse's last two six-furlong Beyers average 115, you know he is something unique. If 10 for 10 were easy, it would happen all the time.

Here is what I don't know: why Lost in the Fog ran so poorly. I have no explanation. The first fraction (22.01 seconds) was not all that fast, yet Lost in the Fog was fourth. He made the lead in the stretch, but he was never reaching out for ground. It was obvious he was not going to win at the quarter pole.

Was it the competition? That's the obvious answer and not unreasonable, yet this bunch, while certainly by far the best the Fog faced, was just not that overwhelming. He got re-passed in the stretch by 45-1 Attila's Storm, an allowance horse.

Certainly, the Fog's critics have ammunition. Still, what is the reality? One bad race or 10 good ones?

I called trainer Greg Gilchrist on Sunday to commiserate. Gilchrist, one of the really nice people in the business, repeated what he had told people Saturday. Something was not right with the colt in the security barn. He was acting differently than ever before. Gilchrist wasn't sure why, but he speculated that maybe all the traveling had finally caught up with the horse, that he had just soured on the whole thing.

Who knows, really? Regardless, it proves what we all already knew. These horses are not machines, no matter how perfect their past performances look.

So Gilchrist, like the rest of us, is going to regroup. Everybody will have an opinion on what happened. I will reserve judgment.

After this year's Derby, I had many people tell me Afleet Alex could not win the Preakness. I thought he got beat because he got bounced around in all that Derby traffic and Jeremy Rose had to ride him too hard for too long. I felt certain that with less traffic and the ability to time his run better, he would win the Preakness.

I don't know exactly what went down with Lost in the Fog, but I am certainly considering what Gilchrist said. I realized a long time ago I don't have all the answers. In time, we will all find out.

"They run this race again next year, don't they?" Gilchrist said.

They do.