03/03/2005 1:00AM

Dazzling Lost in the Fog on display in Swale

Lost in the Fog enters the Swale off three wins by a total 26 3/4 lengths.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - The Fountain of Youth may be the marquee 3-year-old race on a terrific Saturday Gulfstream Park card. But the unbeaten Lost in the Fog, who heads an 11-horse field entered in the Grade 2 Swale, may be the marquee 3-year-old performing on the 12-race program.

has used his brilliant speed to win all three of his starts by a combined 26 3/4 lengths. He has earned triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures in all three races. Since he has yet to race beyond six furlongs, it remains to be seen whether he is a true Kentucky Derby candidate. His connections have yet to nominate him to the Triple Crown series, but plan to if he wins the seven-furlong Swale impressively.

"Everybody tries to target the Derby as their main goal," trainer Greg Gilchrist said. "If the Derby happens, it happens, if it doesn't, it doesn't. We're going to try to do what is right by the horse. I don't want to jeopardize the horse's whole career to get him in a race the first of May."

Though Lost in the Fog has been on the lead in all three of his starts, Gilchrist is confident the colt can sit off another horse if need be. Gilchrist thought that might happen in the Sunshine Millions Dash here in January, but Lost in the Fog was simply faster than his foes.

"We would invite some pace in the race just so we could lay off them," said Gilchrist, who trains Lost in the Fog for owner Harry Aleo. "We're probably not going to change a whole lot, but at the same time we're not just going to keep sending the horse."

The fact that Lost in the Fog drew the 11 hole does not bother Gilchrist.

"I would rather be in the 11 than I would the 1," he said. "I think it helps the jockey out as well as the horse. It's one less thing you have on your mind."

More Smoke, who breaks from post 9, and Around the Cape, who breaks from post 3, have good early speed, but it's questionable whether they can outrun Lost in the Fog.

The Swale marks the seasonal debuts of stakes winners Straight Line, Evil Minister, What's Up Dude, and Up Like Thunder. Port Town, unbeaten in two starts last year, also makes his 3-year-old debut in the Swale.

The horse with the best chance of upsetting Lost in the Fog is Santana Strings, who broke flat-footed and had to alter course in the stretch, but still managed to rally for second behind Lost in the Fog in the Sunshine Millions Dash. That was his first start for trainer Steve Asmussen, who believes his horse is moving forward.

"It's a very good race, but I think our horse has a lot of talent," said Asmussen, who will take the blinkers off Santana Strings. "I don't know how [Lost in the Fog] is doing, all I know is where we are. He's doing really well. I'm not worried about him backing up."