12/18/2004 12:00AM

Hilling faced with difficult decision

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ALBANY, Calif. - Trainer Jim Hilling is weighing his options carefully with Aisle Light, who is nominated for next Sunday's Work the Crowd Handicap here.

On one hand, the race, run at a mile for Cal-bred fillies and mares on turf, has a guaranteed $100,000 purse.

On the other hand, Aisle Light has run only three times in her career, winning two straight sprints during the current meet. She finished third in her debut last December, behind future stakes winners Marwood and Aunt Beth, despite fracturing a cannon bone. A 4-year-old owned by George Krikorian, Aisle Light has never been around two turns or run on the turf.

"My thought is she needs more time," Hilling said, adding, "George likes to run in big races, and I'd like to stretch her out."

Hilling said he feels Aisle Light could be special, and he knows plenty about good horses - he saddled Show Dancer to a second-place finish in the 1987 Breeders' Cup Mile behind Miesque at Hollywood Park.

A daughter of Bertrando out of the Mr. Prospector mare Ryn, Aisle Light has run all of her starts at six furlongs, but Hilling said he doesn't think Aisle Light is at her best sprinting.

"I've never thought of her as a sprinter," he said. "She has a nice, big stride. She's pretty solid. She looks more like Mr. Prospector than Bertrando, but that just means she'll be even better equipped to handle a distance. And turf shouldn't be a problem."

Lost in the Fog to Arizona Juvenile

Trainer Greg Gilchrist said Lost in the Fog will probably run in the $50,000 Arizona Juvenile at Turf Paradise next Sunday. Leading jockey Russell Baze plans to go to Phoenix to ride Lost in the Fog, a 2-year-old colt.

Gilchrist said he would prefer to run in a first-level allowance race but knows the chances of one filling here are slim. He said his main goal for Lost in the Fog is the Sunshine Millions Dash, a sprint for 3-year-olds in January at Gulfstream.

"The horse has to run," said Gilchrist. "He can't get there," he said, referring to the Sunshine Millions Dash, "off one five-eighths race."

Lost in the Fog ran in a five-furlong race in his debut, earning a 102 Beyer, and Gilchrist said he wasn't tempted to enter him in the Gold Rush, a one-mile stakes that was run Saturday at Golden Gate.

"I didn't want to go from five-eighths to a mile," Gilchrist said. "I don't think that's in his best interest."

The Arizona Juvenile will be run at 6 1/2 furlongs.

* X-rays were negative on jockey Alfredo Miranda, who was injured when Quest for Nirvana broke down in Friday's third race. Miranda was scheduled to undergo an MRI and was complaining of neck pain.