04/19/2006 11:00PM

Lost in the Fog might be cold off layoff

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ALBANY, Calif. - The long-awaited return of Eclipse sprint champion Lost in the Fog takes place Saturday in the $100,000 Golden Gate Fields Sprint, which looks like a match race between the champ and Carthage.

Although four opponents signed up to meet Lost in the Fog in the six-furlong race, only Carthage looks to have the speed to challenge him.

, 4, is making his first start since suffering his only loss, a seventh-place finish in the Breeders' Cup last Oct. 29. Trainer Greg Gilchrist said he understands that fans and bettors are expecting Lost in the Fog to win, but he admits this race is designed to move Lost in the Fog forward and is strictly a prep.

"This will not be Lost in the Fog's best race," he said.

Jockey Russell Baze also said he is aware of the big picture.

"I'll just ride him the way I usually do and not change his style too much," said Baze. "I'll try to save some for the finish. The one thing I won't do is abuse him in the lane. He has a lot of tough races coming up."

Lost in the Fog, who breaks from post 3, could be laying second or even third early before Baze unleashes his move on the turn.

has earned Beyers of 108 and 105 in winning the San Carlos Handicap at Bay Meadows and the Fairfax Stakes here in his past two starts. Last year, Lost in the Fog's Beyers ranged from a 98 in the Breeders' Cup and a 102 for his victory in the Sunshine Millions Dash to a 116 in the Grade 2 Carry Back and a 114 for winning the Bay Meadows Speed Handicap.

Carthage's trainer, Art Sherman, said he hopes he can take advantage of a Lost in the Fog who is coming off a layoff.

"If he's ever vulnerable, it may be this time," Sherman said. "I can't beat him once he has one under his belt, but is he going to be dead fit? I'm not saying we match him class-wise, but my horse is coming off two great races."

Carthage breaks from the rail.

, who was supplemented to the race for $1,500, is drawn between Carthage and Lost in the Fog. He has won two straight, both while on or near the lead, but his last win came in a first-level allowance at Santa Anita and he has never faced the likes of a Lost in the Fog.

Rounding out the field are the comebacking Elegant Ice and Twentythreejaybird.