05/29/2006 11:00PM

Few foes for Lost in the Fog


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Champion sprinter Lost in the Fog was scheduled to arrive Wednesday in Louisville before making his second start of the year in the $150,000 Aristides Breeders' Cup Handicap, one of three stakes to be run Saturday at Churchill Downs.

Lost in the Fog will carry 124 pounds when he tries to end a two-race losing streak in the Grade 3 Aristides, a six-furlong race for which Churchill racing officials are expecting a small field. Other probable starters include Kelly's Landing (117), who set the track record in winning the Aristides last year; Exciting Metro, 115; Level Playingfield, 114; Yes Yes Yes, 113; and Cougar Cat, 112.

Lost in the Fog, a 4-year-old colt based in northern California with trainer Greg Gilchrist, won the first 10 races of his career en route to earning the 2005 Eclipse Award for top sprinter. He faded to seventh in his 3-year-old finale, the Breeders' Cup Sprint, as an odds-on favorite, then lost his only start this year, the April 22 Golden Gate Sprint, finishing second to Carthage.

Russell Baze, who has ridden Lost in the Fog in all but one of the colt's 12 starts, is scheduled to ride again Saturday.

The Aristides is a primary feature of an outstanding stakes Saturday at Churchill. In contrast to previous years, Churchill has chosen to concentrate many of its best races on select Saturdays, versus the old way of spacing them throughout the meet. Indeed, there are no stakes here on the weekends of June 10-11 or 24-25; the post-Kentucky Derby highlight of the meet comes with six stakes on Stephen Foster Super Saturday, June 17.

Besides the Aristides, the Saturday card also will feature the $150,000 Dogwood BC, a one-mile race for 3-year-old fillies, and the $100,000 Opening Verse Handicap, for older horses at 1 1/16 miles on turf. Those three races, along with the $70,000 Texas Glitter overnight handicap, will be grouped into a pick-four wager.

The Dogwood is expected to mark the first start for Ready to Please since she won the April 14 Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Other probables are Coolwind, Coronado's Vision, Ex Caelis, Joint Effort, Rich Fantasy, and Victorina. Joint Effort also comes off a noteworthy win, having captured the La Troienne Stakes on the May 6 Derby undercard.

Three horses are expected to share a high weight assignment of 118 pounds in the Opening Verse: Purim, Rush Bay, and the 2004 winner, Senor Swinger. Other probables include Free Thinking (116), Mighty Military (114), and On the Acorn (113).

Bejarano's agent made winning call

Anyone who didn't bother getting the program changes Sunday at Churchill might well have been rooting for the wrong jockey during a fierce stretch duel in the eighth race.

Rafael Bejarano was listed as the rider for Friendsturnedfoes, trained by Greg Foley, and Robby Albarado was named on Ingot, trained by Todd Pletcher. But Bejarano's agent, Joe Ferrer, said he gave Foley a call only on Louderfasterharder, another starter in the 10-horse field, and had not been informed that Bejarano was being assigned to Friendsturnedfoes. Ferrer's second call was on Ingot, who would wind up being the strong favorite, and it was his desire to have Bejarano ride Ingot instead of Friendsturnedfoes.

The stewards agreed, and the switch was made. Sure enough, the race boiled down to Friendsturn-edfoes, an 11-1 shot under Albarado, and Ingot, ridden by Bejarano. Ingot prevailed by a length, returning $4.60 to win.

Poor start can't stop Louve Royale

Despite an awkward start and a slow pace, Louve Royale rallied from last to first Sunday to capture the $59,500 Top Corsage, an overnight handicap run at 1 1/2 miles on the turf.

Louve Royale, ridden by apprentice Julien Leparoux, is trained by Patrick Biancone, who has said he hopes the 5-year-old mare eventually will be a major player in the filly-mare turf division this year. Off her strong effort Sunday, she might well be headed in that direction.

Meanwhile, into Thursday action at Churchill, Leparoux clung to a one-win lead (35-34) over Bejarano atop the meet standings. The two finished in a 17-17 tie at the Keeneland spring meet in April.

* Jockey Josue' Arce, who rode three winners here last week, has lost his five-pound apprenticeship, effective with the Thursday card. Arce, 20, is riding on a stay of an appeal stemming from a five-day suspension given to him for a bumping incident in the first race May 24, when Arce finished fourth aboard a tiring Peddler's Dream.

* There is no handicapping contest at Churchill this week because of the adjusted Memorial Day schedule, with racing on Monday and a dark day Wednesday. There also will be no contest July 5 or 6 because of a similar schedule. The handicapping finals are set for July 12.