06/06/2005 12:00AM

Lost in the Fog works bullet for Riva Ridge

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ALBANY, Calif. - Lost in the Fog completed preparations for the Grade 2 Riva Ridge at Belmont Park on Saturday with a bullet five-furlong work in 58.60 seconds, the best of 36 at the distance.

After the work, trainer Greg Gilchrist said he was pleased and declared "all things go." Lost in the Fog, an undefeated 3-year-old colt, is following the same schedule he has in the past by flying out Tuesday for a Saturday race.

"He worked better today than he had in his last two works," said jockey Russell Baze, who last week joined Laffit Pincay Jr. as the only riders with 9,000 victories. "He was up on the bit more and wanting to work. He switched leads turning for home and wanted to run a little bit, so I let him run a little bit. Back at the barn he was bucking and kicking. I think he's ready to run another big one."

Despite Lost in the Fog's unblemished record, he will have as many as nine challengers in the Riva Ridge. The most interesting challenger may be Egg Head, winner of three consecutive races, including the Francis "Jock" LaBelle Memorial Handicap at Delaware Park. Egg Head won that race by 9 1/2 lengths and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 112.

Others pointing to the race include B. B. Best, Biloxi Palace, Going Wild, Middle Earth, Survivalist, Tani Maru, and War Plan. Trainer Todd Pletcher is likely to run either Proud Accolade or Vicarage.

Gilchrist said his primary goal for Lost in the Fog is the Grade 1 King's Bishop at Saratoga on Aug. 27, but if all goes well in the Riva Ridge, he would like to run the colt back in the Grade 2 Carry Back at Calder on July 9.

Should he choose that route, Gilchrist said he would consider shipping Lost in the Fog directly to Florida from New York.

Baze has other top mounts

Lost in the Fog is the gold standard as far as Baze is concerned, but Baze is the rider for several other good 3-year-olds.

In addition to Lost in the Fog, Baze is the regular rider for Lunachick, northern California's top 3-year-old filly sprinter, who is probably headed to Southern California after her victory in the Vallejo Stakes.

Baze also rides undefeated Old Man River, who won on the turf in his second start after a sprint victory in his debut.

"He's a little green yet, but he does what you ask him to do," Baze said. "He's very willing. This turf is a little firm, but he handled it all right."

Baze said he likes the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained stablemates Sabi Sand and Dusty Valley. Dusty Valley won his debut but suffered a minor injury in his second race and will be on the sidelines for a while. Sabi Sand won his debut Saturday, rallying along the rail from off the pace.

"He's a nice little horse," Baze said of Sabi Sand. "I was impressed with the way he did it. He ran well in traffic and didn't get intimidated. We came through on the rail and he never hesitated. The only thing he wasn't clear on was going on with it after making the lead, but I helped him with that by getting after him a little bit."

Hollendorfer bought Sabi Sand for $385,000 at the WinStar dispersal sale last year.

"He was just a nice-looking colt," said Hollendorfer. Hollendorfer said Sabi Sand would ultimately be tried at a distance, but that he wouldn't rush the colt.

Black Ruby back in good health

Black Ruby, a 13-year-old mule who is a popular performer on the northern California fair circuit, is back in top form this year after an injury-plagued season last year.

Black Ruby beat 6-year-olds Sarah Nelson and Smoking Joe in a 400-yard race in Winnemucca, Nev., on Saturday, winning a three-way photo despite being third with only 50 yards to go.

Black Ruby ran second to Sarah Nelson at 350 yards Sunday but rallied late to edge Smoking Joe in a photo.

"We're extremely fortunate that she's been able to recover so well and is healthy again," said owner Mary McPherson. "We gave her a lot of TLC over the winter. We're planning to race her on the fairs this summer."

Holdthehelm returns in feature

Holdthehelm, a winner on turf here last December, will make his first start since March 4 in Wednesday's feature, a $50,000 optional claimer at 1 1/8 miles on the turf.

San Remy, stepping up after winning a $25,000 optional claiming marathon over the course, and Congressionalhonor, making his first start since pulling up in the Grade 3 Stanford at Bay Meadows on March 19, are also entered in the field of seven.

* Jockey Caesar Bisono suffered a large bruise on the back of his right thigh after falling when House of Fun clipped heels with Louie's Rubies during Sunday's seventh race. He was taken to Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley for precautionary X-races on his left wrist and left shoulder.

- additional reporting by David Grening