09/19/2006 11:00PM

Fog was one of their own

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Lost in the Fog, who was stricken with cancer last month and was euthanized Sunday at age 4, was popular with fans and horsemen alike.

Golden Gate Fields is working on a tribute to him Sept. 30, and several members of the Golden Gate backstretch reflected this week on his career.

"He had a presence to him that's rare," said trainer Andy Mathis, whose barn is opposite that of Greg Gilchrist, who trained Lost in the Fog. "He'd make people stop, and he'd take your breath away. When I was at Santa Anita, you'd see a Silver Charm or Tiznow, and they'd kind of take your breath away. For trainers who see so many horses every day, to have a horse take your breath away, it's cool."

Jim Hilling, whose barn is also opposite Gilchrist's, said: "Whenever any horse from northern California goes out of town, we all root for them. You know how they say parents live through their children? In northern California in particular, we root for others. It puts us on the map. It's like a piece of your family, your nephew or niece.

"Greg and Harry handled themselves so well during the whole time, you couldn't ask for better," he said, referring to Gilchrist and Harry Aleo, Lost in the Fog's owner.

Mathis marveled at how well Gilchrist managed Lost in the Fog last year, when Lost in the Fog became just the second horse from northern California to win an Eclipse Award, joining Brown Bess. Mathis noted that even though Lost in the Fog shipped across the country seven times, "He ran when he was right, and he ran in the perfect spot. I learned a lesson from how that horse was managed."

Mathis said he was surprised by Lost in the Fog's death, because he had looked so good when he was brought out of his barn each day.

Attack Force in rebound spot

Five solid runners meet in Friday's Golden Gate Fields feature, an $80,000 optional claimer at one mile.

Attack Force, who won the last two times he raced at the level, will try to rebound from a dull try in the Grade 3 Berkeley Handicap, in which he finished last following a nine-week layoff. He had trained nicely for the race but was never a factor, falling to last after the opening half-mile.

Attack Force has a solid work since then and may be better with a race under his belt.

Stellar Magic is another who can improve off a last-place finish. Coming off an eight-month layoff, he was compromised by a slow start and finished last of five in an allowance race Aug. 27.