Updated on 09/17/2011 7:11PM

Lost in the Fog's freaky 109 legit


PHILADELPHIA - It was the night after Christmas when I sat down with the day's charts from Turf Paradise. The seventh race, the $50,000 Arizona Juvenile, intrigued me.

Lost in the Fog was making his second start. He had earned a 102 Beyer in his Golden Gate Fields debut on Nov. 14. But that race was five furlongs in the mud. Who knew what that meant?

When I looked at the Turf Paradise charts, I began to know what it meant. Turf Paradise is the fastest track in America. The raw Beyers often have to be adjusted 30 points or more to account for the speed of the track.

Still, this was something out of the ordinary. This was crazy fast.

Lost in the Fog had vied for the lead at Golden Gate through a uarter-mile of 21.75 seconds. He opened up four lengths in 44.77 and finished out in 56.84, winning by 7 1/2 lengths. Interesting stuff.

The 2-year-old Lost in the Fog tracked the pace in the 6 1+2-furlong race at Turf Paradise. He was a half-length behind after a quarter in 21.80. He was a head in front after a half in 43.78. At the eighth pole, Lost in the Fog was 5 1/2 lengths in front. He ran six furlongs in 1:07.26. His final time was a ridiculous 1:13.55, breaking a track record (1:13.80) by 3-year-old G Malleah that had been set in 1994. Lost in the Fog, with Russell Baze along for the ride, won by 14 3/4 lengths. Wild stuff.

So was the track really that fast? Actually, it was not, at least for Turf Paradise. In Beyer terminology, the track was 33 points fast. The raw Beyer was 142. The actual Beyer was 109.

That is 109. For a 2-year-old. Making his second lifetime start. At Turf Paradise.

Naturally, I wondered about the Beyer. Was it real? It was real.

The second horse, Scottsbluff, got a 73 after earning a 67 in his first start. The third horse, Lead for Speed, who finished 15 1/2 lengths behind, got a 71 after earning Beyers of 67, 73, 68, and 64 in his prior starts.

There were two other 6 1+2-furlong races on the card. The first race went in 1:17.71. The ninth-race time was 1:18.34. There were no fast horses in those races, but the huge gap in times told a story.

Lost in the Fog is a freak.

Turf Paradise handicapper Howard Hong sent me an e-mail Monday to tell me what he saw.

"A brilliant performance by Lost in the Fog here yesterday while setting a track record," Hong wrote. "He was visually more impressive to me than Da Hoss was as a 2-year-old when he ran 1:07 1/5 [for six furlongs].'"

Da Hoss won the first three races of his life in the fall of 1994 at Turf Paradise. He got Beyers of 60, 61 and then 91 when he ran that fast six furlongs and ran out of the TV set. He was then purchased by the Preston Brothers and went on to much fame and some fortune for trainer Michael Dickinson.

G Malleah set the track record very late in his 3-year-old season. His Beyer was only an 89, which means the track was far faster than it was Sunday.

What of Lost in the Fog? Kentucky Derby? Trainer Greg Gilchrist does not seem so inclined as this point.

Lost in the Fog is by Danzig's son Lost Soldier out of the Dr. Carter mare Cloud Break. The pedigree screams sprinter.

Next is the Jan. 29 Sunshine Millions Dash for $250,000 at Gulfstream Park. You won't be able to bet against Florida-bred Lost in the Fog. Or on him. He was 6-5 in his debut and 1-2 on Sunday.

Owner Harry Aleo paid $48,000 for Lost in the Fog in August 2003. The most valuable commodity in the sport is the super-fast 2-year-old.

Gilchrist knows fast horses. He trained the brilliant filly Soviet Problem, who did everything but win the 1994 Breeders' Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs before being caught very late by Cherokee Run. The trainer is winning with 35 percent of his starters this year. So Lost in the Fog is in very good hands. And he is as fast as racehorses get.