09/22/2006 12:00AM

Fitting resting place for Lost in the Fog


Lost in the Fog is coming home, says Karen Dodd. Home for much of the life of the deceased Eclipse Award-winning sprinter was Greg and Karen Dodd's Southern Chase Farm in Williston, Fla. It is at this 430-acre nursery and training complex that Lost in the Fog will be memorialized and his ashes interred.

Bred in Florida by Susan Seper, the colt was pinhooked more or less by chance out of the 2003 Ocala Breeders' Sales yearling sale. The Dodds will candidly tell you that Lost in the Fog was not on their yearling pinhook list. Kelli Mitchell recommended the Lost Soldier colt when she noted the Dodds checking out her consignment. Greg Dodd, however, was not turned on by the colt's pedigree. All this changed when he saw the colt for the first time.

"When I saw Lost in the Fog, I liked what I saw," said Greg Dodd. "I didn't even think about looking at the catalog page, I just said to myself, 'This is a racehorse!' "

Kelli Mitchell assured him that the colt was okay - no known mitigating reasons not to buy him - and the Dodds went to $47,000 to buy a yearling that they had no intentions of buying.

Next stop in the Lost in the Fog saga came at the OBS spring sale of 2-year-olds in training. The colt brought bids in six figures, but those bids failed to meet their reserve. The Dodds ordinarily do not race their homebreds or purchases.

"Greg said let's go to the races with him," said Karen. "I said were in business to sell not race."

Prior to April of '04, the Dodds and the owner Harry Aleo-trainer Greg Gilchrist team had done business with a colt named Beyond Brilliance. Harry Aleo, the Dodds learned, had bid over $100,000 for the Lost in the Fog. Greg went to the phone and Lost in the Fog had a new owner.

"We sold him for $140,000," said Greg. "It was below our sales reserve, but we felt the colt was going to good customers and good people."

The business rapport established between the Dodds and both Aleo and Gilchrist has since evolved into a quasi-family relationship. The Dodds would travel to see their former charge race whenever and wherever, and when the time came for some rest and rejuvenation following last year's Breeders' Cup, the champion was sent to Southern Chase Farm to unwind.

"You know," said Karen Dodd, "I said it last year and I say it now: I knew something was wrong with Lost in the Fog when he was being saddled for the Breeders' Cup Sprint. He simply wasn't himself. He was furtive, he was unsettled. That was not his way. Of course, none of us could know then what was causing his discomfort."

Aleo and Gilchrist are in a special class, she said.

"It was like we all shared a relative," Karen said. "They spared no time or effort so that Lost in the Fog could have the best that money and science could provide."

Lost in the Fog will make one more journey before returning to Southern Chase Farm. He will have a necropsy done at the University of California-Davis.

"There is so little that we know about the causes and the nature of equine cancer and its treatment," said Karen. "Harry felt that here was an opportunity for Lost in the Fog to make a contribution to equine science. After the necropsy is finished, he will be cremated and his ashes will come to us

"Greg and I are looking for a proper site here on the farm. There's a big live oak that's suitable, or we could inter him by the racetrack. He's gone, but the memories remain and they always will. He had the courage of a champion and in many more ways than one."