06/16/2012 10:20PM

Golden Gate Fields: First-time starter Anytime Magic surprises in Lost in the Fog

Marcel Langevin/Vassar Photography
The 2-year-old gelding Anytime Magic romps in his career debut in the Lost in the Fog.

Trainer Bob Hess Sr. didn't know what he had with Anytime Magic when he decided to have the 2-year-old gelding make his first career start in the $54,650 Lost in the Fog Stakes at Golden Gate Fields on Saturday.

Less than a minute after the gate opened, Hess knew he had a stakes winner.

"I never asked him to run in the mornings, but I knew I had him fit and well-schooled," said Hess. "I told the jock whether he was first or last, don't ask him to run until you're turning for home. He just happened to be in front turning for home."

The Lost in the Fog, a five-furlong race for 2-year-olds, had more debut runners (three) than winners (two) entered.

First-timers were in front all the way as the filly Pearl Seeker took the lead with Anytime Magic, who broke just outside her, a head behind down the backstretch and around the turn.

"He broke so good and was right there," said winning jockey David Lopez. "I just tried to be patient, and, when I asked him, he took off."

Anytime Magic ($33.60) was a length in front of the fading Pearl Seeker at the eighth pole and finished strong to defeat favored Native Treasure, who was shuffled back and forced wide into the stretch, by 2 1/4 lengths in 59.59 seconds. Saint Prado ran third.

A son of Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus, Anytime Magic earned $30,450 with the win for Hess, who owns the gelding with James Eaton and Darrell Landry. He cost $30,000 at the September 2011 Keeneland sale.

"He was a real attractive horse," said Hess. "We probably got him so cheap because FuPegs aren't really very hot right now, and it was late in the sale. I looked at the horses in the paddock before the race, and I thought he was a lot better looking than the rest. But that doesn't mean the horse is going to run faster."