08/20/2006 11:00PM

Lost in the Fog home for final days

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Star-crossed sprint champion Lost in the Fog returned from California's leading veterinary facility to his stall at Golden Gate Fields on Sunday so that he could be in familiar surroundings for his final days.

Lost in the Fog, 4, had been sent to the University of California at Davis the previous Sunday with what was thought to be a mild case of colic. Instead, a cancerous tumor was discovered on his spleen. Further testing revealed a smaller tumor on connecting tissue from his spleen and a larger, inoperable tumor under his spine.

Trainer Greg Gilchrist wanted the colt to spend his final days back in his own stall, and Dr. Don Smith, Lost in the Fog's veterinarian, said the colt arrived without mishap.

Smith said Lost in the Fog was his usual aggressive self with barn personnel and "attacked his feed tub." He called the scene "heartbreaking" knowing the inevitability that awaits the colt. Gilchrist, who was attending a horse sale in Florida, said by phone that he wanted Lost in the Fog to be with familiar faces whether he had "another day, week, or two weeks of quality life," and that the colt would be pampered.

Smith said that Lost in the Fog did not appear to be in pain and that he could not predict when the colt would have to be euthanized.

Gilchrist said that he, owner Harry Aleo, and Smith would not allow the colt to suffer at all. Smith said that until Lost in the Fog stopped responding favorably to "lighter medications" such as Banamine, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory, there would not be any discussion about euthanasia.

Gilchrist described the mood in his barn as somber, and said, "It will be a tough time for me." But he said everyone involved with the horse would get through it.

Lost in the Fog, a son of Lost Soldier out of the Dr. Carter mare Cloud Break, was purchased privately by Gilchrist for Aleo after failing to meet his reserve price at an Ocala sale of 2-year-olds in training in 2004.

Lost in the Fog won his first 10 career starts before finishing seventh as the odds-on favorite in the Breeders' Cup Sprint, his final start of 2005. A winner of $978,000, he traveled from his northern California base last year to win the Sunshine Millions Dash and Swale at Gulfstream Park, the Bay Shore at Aqueduct, the Riva Ridge at Belmont Park, the Carry Back at Calder, and the King's Bishop at Saratoga. He was voted the 2005 Eclipse Award as champion sprinter.

In three starts this year, Lost in the Fog finished second in the Golden Gate Sprint, won the Aristides at Churchill Downs, and was ninth in the Smile Sprint at Calder. Doctors told Gilchrist that the tumor on Lost in the Fog's spleen was certainly present and growing when he raced in the Smile.