08/18/2006 11:00PM

Lost in the Fog nears the end


Eclipse sprint champion Lost in the Fog's return to his home stall at Golden Gate Fields has been delayed until Sunday.

With terminal cancer diagnosed Friday, Lost in the Fog was to have been vanned down from the University of California at Davis on Saturday, but veterinarians there requested that he stay at the hospital one more day for additional tests, said the colt's veterinarian, Dr. Don Smith.

Lost in the Fog is expected to return to Golden Gate Fields by midday Sunday.

Although Friday tests revealed that Lost in the Fog's cancer had spread beyond the tumor found in his spleen, trainer Greg Gilchrist decided to return the 4-year-old colt to the familiar surroundings of Golden Gate Fields for his final days.

While Gilchrist said the "end is inevitable," he indicated that Lost in the Fog would be pampered whether he had "another day, week, or two weeks of quality life."

Smith said that Lost in the Fog has seemingly not been in pain and responds well to the anti-inflammatory medication Banamine.

Friday's test results were the worst-case scenario. Doctors were confronted by an inoperable football-sized tumor under the colt's spine as they conducted a laparoscopy, which involves running a miniaturized camera through the colt's abdomen.

An egg-sized tumor in tissue near the spleen, where the original tumor was located, was also discovered.

"Up until today, we really had a lot of hope," Gilchrist said during a Friday conference call.

Gilchrist said everyone associated with Lost in the Fog was badly shaken, particularly owner Harry Aleo. Lost in the Fog's groom, Pascual Garcia "grew teary-eyed when I told him," Gilchrist said.

Gilchrist said he would be with the colt when he is eventually euthanized.

"As his trainer, we've been through so much together," Gilchrist said. "He did so much for me, I owe that much to the horse.

"This horse is like a brother to me. I have more respect for this horse than 70 to 75 percent of the people I deal with. If he were human, he'd be the type of guy you want to be around. This will be a very tough time for me."

Gilchrist said arrangements had already been made for the colt to be cremated and returned to Southern Chase Farm in Ocala, Fla., where he grew up.

Russell Baze, the colt's regular rider, won with all seven of his mounts on Friday at the Bay Meadows Fair, but it was bittersweet for him.

"We were all hoping that something could work out," Baze said. "Harry and Greg have much more invested in the horse than I do. They'll be in my prayers tonight. You hope a horse this caliber would have a happier end. It's a shame he doesn't have a chance to pass on his talent to another generation."

Lost in the Fog gained national attention winning his first 10 career starts. During his win streak, he crisscrossed the country six times from his northern California base, winning the Sunshine Millions Dash and later the Grade 2 Swale at Gulfstream Park, the Grade 3 Bay Shore at Aqueduct, the Grade 2 Riva Ridge at Belmont, the Grade 2 Carry Back at Calder, and the Grade 1 King's Bishop at Saratoga.

Despite finishing seventh in the Breeders' Cup, he won the Eclipse Award as 2005's leading sprinter. He concludes his career with a record of 11 wins from 14 starts and earnings of $978,099.