05/11/2005 12:00AM

Lost in the Fog attracts lights, cameras, action


ALBANY, Calif. - Like the perfect storm, there was a perfect confluence of timing, location, and opportunity that will allow Lost in the Fog to run at his home track, Golden Gate Fields, in the $150,000 Golden Bear Breeders' Cup Stakes on Saturday.

"I heard there would be a 3-year-old race, but I didn't think it would be for six figures," trainer Greg Gilchrist said Wednesday after an opening-day news conference at Golden Gate Fields that included three local television stations. "We kind of talked back and forth. The timing is good. It's been five weeks since his last race, and we would be looking for a race."

Lost in the Fog's owner, Harry Aleo, likely would have run in the race no matter the purse.

"I was born here. I live here. I've always wanted to run here," he said. "I hate to go out of town. Everywhere you go, you hear Golden Gate is a second-tier track."

The impact Lost in the Fog has had on local racing is reflected in the fact that the track actually held a news conference about the race and that, in addition to the television stations, the Bay Area's four major newspapers were represented there by writers and columnists.

Lost in the Fog may have only two challengers in Saturday's six-furlong sprint, but Golden Gate Fields is generating publicity that racing seldom gets in the mainstream media. Sean Greely, the track's racing secretary, said he hopes the race sends a message to owners and trainers.

"We want people to see if you have a quality horse, you can send it to northern California," Greely said. "This is a stepping-stone in that process."

With 5 wins in 5 starts and five triple-digit Beyers, Lost in the Fog has been generating a lot of national publicity since setting a track record at Turf Paradise in his second start. He was dubbed "the most exciting horse" in America early on by columnist Andrew Beyer, and his jockey, Russell Baze, said, "He got that mantle pretty early, and he's held it well."

Aleo, who has been offered $2.5 million for Lost in the Fog, said he determined after the colt's debut that he wouldn't sell him.

"It's an incredible experience," he said. "This horse is what I've looked for all these years. He's the fastest 3-year-old in the country. People here want to see him run."

If all goes well with Lost in the Fog, he will run in the Riva Ridge on Belmont Day. Long-range goals include the Grade 1 King's Bishop at Saratoga on Aug. 27 - "That may be his Kentucky Derby," Gilchrist said - and the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

Aleo said he has no second thoughts about pointing Lost in the Fog away from the Derby trail and the Preakness.

"We want to do what's best for the horse," he said. "Last year, 18 horses ran in the Derby and only two after the Derby. We want to give [Lost in the Fog] a chance to be as great as he can be."

A Lil' Alimony another Gilchrist star

Gilchrist's other headlining 3-year-old is scheduled to run Friday.

A Lil' Alimony was a hot story when she won her debut for the aptly named First Wives Club on opening day of last fall's meet. She will meet males Friday in a $40,000 starter allowance at six furlongs and may be hard-pressed to hit the board.

Friday's feature is an interesting $80,000 optional claimer at one mile featuring Easy Million, a seven-length winner two starts back who lost a photo last time out while earning a career-best 103 Beyer Speed Figure.

Desert Boom, who beat similar on the turf in his last start, beat Easy Million in their last meeting. The Jerry Hollendorfer-trained entry of front-running My Onomatopoeia and closer Gold Ruckus also merits consideration, as does Zorro Rojo, a Grade 1 winner in his native Peru who rebounded from a loss to Easy Million with a front-running victory in his last start.

Calo happy for Wrona

Tony Calo, who has called both major northern California meetings, admitted being disappointed that he is not calling the Golden Gate Fields meeting, but said, "If I was going to be replaced, I'm glad it was my mentor, Michael Wrona."

Wrona called races here in the 1990's before departing in 1999.

Calo said he might spend some time at Emerald Downs watching the horses this summer.