03/27/2006 1:00AM

Sierra Sweetie out with throat ailment


ALBANY, Calif. - Sierra Sweetie, the winner of the California Breeders' Cup Oaks here Feb. 11, will go to the sidelines for 60 days after a growth was discovered in her throat following a workout on Sunday, said her trainer, Jeff Bonde. Sierra Sweetie had been expected to run in the Grade 1 Ashland at Keeneland on April 8.

"This is devastating," Bonde said after the filly's very easy 1:02.40 five-furlong breeze. "It was something we were monitoring. After she worked, we scoped her, and the vet gave us the bad news. We even got another vet for a second opinion, but his findings were identical to the first."

The growth will be removed with a laser treatment. Sierra Sweetie should return to training in June.

Bonde said he ran Sierra Sweetie in the California Oaks rather than in the Grade 1 Las Virgenes at Santa Anita in order to have her at her best for the Ashland and the Kentucky Oaks. But with the discovery of the growth, those plans were dashed.

"We tried to do right by her," Bonde said.

Sierra Sweetie has never finished worse than second, scoring all four of her victories in stakes and earning $290,400 in seven starts.

Lost in the Fog on schedule

Eclipse Award-winning sprinter Lost in the Fog continues on schedule for his April 22 comeback in the Golden Gate Sprint.

He worked six furlongs in 1:11.01 before Sunday's first race, galloping out seven furlongs in 1:26.03. His fractions were 23.46, 46.75, and 58.71 seconds. The clocking was more than three seconds faster than the next-best work of 1:14.60 by the $12,500 claimer Whenthewindblows.

"It was just right," trainer Greg Gilchrist said. "Anywhere between 1:11 and 1:12 would be fine."

Lost in the Fog is scheduled to work again next Sunday, going 6 1/2 furlongs. After that, Gilchrist plans a half-mile gate drill and a final five-furlong work in company.

"I let him get into the bit so we could get some air into him," jockey Russell Baze said following the work. "It was his first three-quarters work, so I didn't ask too much early."

Baze carried his whip during the workout but never used it other than to tap the colt on the shoulder and let him see it.

Gilchrist also worked two of his top 3-year-olds Sunday. Ladies Souvenir, scheduled to run in Saturday's Grade 1 Santa Paula at Santa Anita, earned a best-of-34 bullet with a 58.80-second clocking for five furlongs.

Smokey Stover worked in 59.60 seconds out of the gate under Baze as he prepares for the $100,000 Lost Code at six furlongs at Hawthorne on April 8. Gilchrist also plans to send Victorina to Hawthorne for the $100,000 Meafara for fillies at six furlongs the same day.

Cause to Believe goes six furlongs

Cause to Believe, northern California's Kentucky Derby hopeful, had a six-furlong work Friday, clocking 1:14.80 in company with a solid older runner, Ghost Actor. The pair tied for the best six-furlong clocking among six runners at the distance.

"The track was a little loose, so I didn't ask him as much as I might have," Baze said.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said the colt's preparations for the April 8 Illinois Derby at Hawthorne are proceeding as scheduled. He will work one more time before heading to Chicago next Tuesday.

"Right now the horse is very good," Hollendorfer said. "He's doing well, so we just have to make sure he eats up every day."

Hollendorfer said he paired Cause to Believe with an older horse because he wanted to make him compete during the workout.

Hollendorfer received two fines Saturday. He was fined $500 for an excess of phenylbutazone in Celines Melody, the second-place finisher in a March 2 race, and $1,000 when methocarbamol, a banned muscle relaxant, was found in Sharpened Copy, winner of a March 1 race. Methocarbamol is a Class 6 drug on a scale of 1 to 7. Horses are disqualified only for offenses for drugs in classes 1 through 3.

Moscow Burning draws top weight

Moscow Burning, winner of two straight races, including the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf, was assigned high weight of 124 pounds for Saturday's $100,000 Work the Crowd Handicap for Cal-bred fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

She has to spot Somethinaboutlaura - now in Hollendorfer's barn after going through a sale in Kentucky - six pounds. Weighted third among the 15 nominations is Sweet Gazelle at 116 pounds. The field includes one supplemental nominee, Awesome Beginning, who gets in at 111.

Pragmatico on streak

Pragmatico puts his three-race win streak on the line in Wednesday's feature, a $25,000 claimer at six furlongs.

An 8-year-old Argentine-bred gelding, Pragmatico started his winning streak at the $10,000 level, won for $12,500, and for $20,000 last time.