09/25/2005 11:00PM

As many as eight may enter Lost in the Fog's prep

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SAN MATEO, Calif. - If it were an early-season college basketball tournament, Saturday's $100,000 Bay Meadows Speed Handicap would be called the Lost in the Fog Invitational.

You know the kind of tournament - the host and the invited cupcakes.

On paper, that's what this final prep before the Oct. 29 Breeders' Cup Sprint appears to be, but 14 other runners were nominated for the race.

Lost in the Fog's 123-pound weight assignment is the same as what he will carry in the Breeders' Cup Sprint. But Saturday, instead of getting weight from his older opponents as he will in the Sprint, the undefeated 3-year-old will have to give anywhere from six to 16 pounds to his rivals, including the first older runners he has faced in his career.

While some worried that only two or three runners might challenge Lost in the Fog, as happened earlier this year in the Golden Bear Breeders' Cup Handicap at Golden Gate Fields when only two ran against him, there may be seven or eight entered when the draw is held Wednesday. But don't expect that many to run against him.

The nomination fee for the race was $100, simply the price of doing business with good horses or for trainers willing to risk $100 for the chance to pick up at least $2,500 for running fifth.

In many stakes, there is an additional fee to enter and yet another fee to start, but in the Bay Meadows Speed Handicap, there is no entry fee, just a $1,000 starter fee to run.

With no entry fee, some trainers will enter in the hope that perhaps the headliner will pass, or that so few will enter that a payday is assured.

The real racetrack poker will come Saturday. Horses entered in stakes races can be scratched up to one hour before post time, so some trainers may be playing a game of chicken with their rivals, hoping for enough scratches to guarantee a check.

Bonfante, the second highweight at 117 pounds, was second in last Saturday's $100,000 California Turf Sprint Championship, and will not run. Bilo, assigned 116 along with Halo Cat and Stormin' Lyon, will probably opt for the Grade 1, $250,000 Ancient Title at Oak Tree on Oct. 8.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer will likely enter his three nominees, Halo Cat, Jeffries Bay, and Trickey Trevor.

Trainer Craig Dollase may send up defending Ancient Title champ Pt's Grey Eagle, and trainer Howard Belvoir may run stakes-winning Seattles Best Joe, third behind Halo Cat in his comeback after winning three stakes as a 2-year-old last year.

Smoocher, claimed from Hollendorfer by Dan Hendricks for $125,000 at Del Mar this summer, is another likely candidate to run.

Ten nominees for Bay Meadows 'Cap

There were only 10 nominations for Saturday's Grade 3, $125,000 Bay Meadows Breeders' Cup Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on the turf.

Adreamisborn is the 121-pound highweight. El Don, who won the California Turf Championship here on Labor Day to run his career record to 2 for 2 on the turf, will carry 120.

Steal Your Thunder, who got in light at 112, could run for trainer Carla Gaines.

Carr in back-to-back dead heats

Before Friday night, jockey Dennis Carr could only remember being involved in two dead heats in his career.

Then he was involved in dead heats in back-to-back races.

First, he got Souvenir Sands up to share the victory with No Derby, who is nominated to the Bay Meadows Speed Handicap. Then, he rallied Future Hit to get his nose on the wire along with Din's Dynasty.

"The first one, I wasn't sure I got there, but the second one, I thought with my position in front of the other rider I was there, but he got a good head bob," Carr said. "I thought I got it by half a head.

"When we got back to unsaddle, I thought they'd put my number up, but when things kept dragging on and dragging on, I thought, 'Wouldn't this be something if it were another dead heat?'

"In both races, the horses ran so hard, they didn't deserve to lose," Carr said, "and neither did."

Exceeding wins stakes in turf debut

Exceeding was always cut out to be a good runner, even though he had to go to the sidelines for nearly two years with a suspensory problem on the inside of his right front leg.

He had run well in Southern California but was sent north for his return, trainer John Martin said, because the competition is a bit softer up here.

On Saturday, he made his turf debut in the $100,000 California Turf Sprint Championship and won in wire-to-wire fashion.

Martin said he expected a good effort because of the pedigree of Exceeding, who is by In Excess.

"The only thing I questioned was how much talent he had and how competitive he'd be with a couple horses coming from L.A," Martin said.

Martin took a conservative approach with the 5-year-old gelding, who is 3 for 3 since coming back and working through his allowance conditions.

"I take a lot of chances in the claiming game, but I didn't want to take a chance with him," Martin said.

Martin said he wants to stretch Exceeding out and may consider the Cal Cup Mile on Nov. 6 at Oak Tree for his next start.

Good races, but short fields

Wednesday's card would be a perfect undercard for Saturday, except for the short fields.

Racing secretary Tom Doutrich has an $80,000 optional claimer for 2-year-olds that attracted good-looking debut winner Passive Income, a $62,500 optional claimer for older horses, a straight maiden race, a $40,000 starter allowance, and a $32,000 claimer on an eight-race card that is handing out $192,000 in purses.

"We had a lot of races pile up for better horses that needed to go," Doutrich said. "We fell apart numbers-wise, but I'm glad we got a lot of these races to go."