08/16/2006 12:00AM

Lost in the Fog faces cancer

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Eclipse Award-winning sprinter Lost in the Fog's life is in jeopardy and his racing career appears over after doctors discovered what they believe is a cancerous mass in his spleen. Lost in the Fog, 4, will undergo a procedure Friday at the University of California at Davis to determine whether the cancer has spread to other parts of his body.

The mass, which doctors suspect is lymphoma, was discovered Sunday when Lost in the Fog underwent a stomach sonogram at the UC-Davis veterinary school, said his trainer, Greg Gilchrist. A biopsy was performed Tuesday on the mass.

On Friday, a miniature camera will be inserted in the colt's abdomen to see if there has been any spread of cancerous cells.

While admitting that it's "not a good situation," Gilchrist said, "Let's not everybody jump in the grave yet."

"They know the mass is in the spleen itself," he said on Wednesday. "Right now, it looks good. It hasn't metastasized and moved to other parts. But when you look at a sonogram, it won't show very small things. That's why they're doing the camera search.

"If they find more, it is not a good thing. At that point, we probably wouldn't do surgery. If it does look good, at the middle of next week surgery will be performed to remove the spleen. It's a very delicate operation. They say there's a 50-50 chance he will make it through. If all goes well, he will recover and live a normal life."

Gilchrist said that if Lost in the Fog makes it through the surgery he could still become a stallion. He called the surgery a better option for the colt than radiation and chemotherapy.

Lost in the Fog ran ninth in the Grade 2 Smile at Calder on July 15, and Gilchrist said the colt was bothered by quarter cracks. Since that race, Gilchrist has said that if Lost in the Fog could not be readied to race again this year, he would be retired.

Lost in the Fog won his first 10 starts, earning triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures in each and setting track records at Turf Paradise and Golden Gate Fields. The streak ended with a seventh-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Sprint last year.

This year, he ran second to Carthage in his comeback in the Golden Gate Fields Sprint on April 22 and then won the Grade 3 Aristides at Churchill Downs on June 3.

Owned by Harry Aleo, Lost in the Fog has earned $978,099 with 11 wins and 1 second in 14 starts.