07/12/2006 12:00AM

Third loss could have ended Fog's career

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Lost in the Fog rebounded from two straight losses with a victory last out in the Aristides at Churchill Downs.

MIAMI - Lost in the Fog is the marquee name on Saturday's Summit of Speed program and will be the heavy favorite to win the $500,000 Smile Sprint Handicap. But had the reigning Eclipse Award-winning sprinter not run well in his previous start - the June 3 Aristides Breeders' Cup Handicap at Churchill Downs - his racing career might be over, admitted his trainer, Greg Gilchrist.

While dodging raindrops here on Wednesday morning, Gilchrist said he had discussed the situation with Lost in the Fog's owner, Harry Aleo, "and we honestly thought about stopping on him if he got beat again in Kentucky."

"I knew it just wasn't his day at the Breeders' Cup, and that after a long year, at some point, his streak had to come to an end," Gilchrist said. "And I could explain his first loss this year. He was coming off a layoff, and I didn't have him completely ready the first time back."

Lost in the Fog finished seventh in the Breeders' Cup Sprint last October and was second in the April 22 Golden Gate Sprint, his first start of this year.

"But if he got beat a third time, then all of a sudden it's not so easy to make excuses, and you have to start looking at the big picture regarding his career once his racing days are over. At that point we might not have wanted to take a chance of putting a fourth straight loss on his record."

Fortunately, Lost in the Fog looked like his old self winning the Grade 3 Aristides, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 111, just five points lower than the career-best 116 he posted here winning the Carry Back Stakes in 2005.

"I wanted to take him to Churchill Downs because it was the kind of place he had to go to win a big race to prove himself," said Gilchrist. "In my mind, he's back to the same level he was at as a 3-year-old - he hasn't forgotten how to run, although he is fighting things this year he didn't have last season. Like some physical problems that come from the rigors of racing, the fact he's going up against older horses now instead of straight 3-year-olds, and all the weight he must concede to his competition whenever he runs."

Lost in the Fog conceded eight pounds to Carthage in losing his 2006 debut and seven to runner-up Kelly's Landing in the Aristides. He will carry high weight of 125 pounds, conceding eight to 13, in the Smile.

"The racing secretary here had no choice but to put another pound on him off his win at Churchill Downs, and if he wins again Saturday, he'll probably get another pound next time," said Gilchrist. "At some point the weight concessions are going to show up, but what can we do? The alternatives are to lose or not to run at all, and if you're not going to run, you might as well go to the farm."

Baffert sending another

Trainer Bob Baffert will try to keep his perfect Summit of Speed record intact when he sends out Too Much Bling as the favorite in Saturday's Carry Back Stakes. Baffert came here for the first time a year ago to win the Smile with Woke Up Dreamin.

"The Summit of Speed program is a good one," Baffert said Wednesday by phone from California. "That's quite a lineup they've got down there on Saturday. I like our spot with Too Much Bling, but there are no gimmes in any of those races."

Baffert will not make the trip with Too Much Bling for the Carry Back.

"I'll be here at home watching the race on TVG," he said.

TVG will again present live, on-site coverage of this year's Summit of Speed card. Expected to be on hand to analyze and make selections are TVG personalities Greg Wolf, Simon Bray, and Christina Olivares.

Racing secretary psyched

Mike Anifantis, in his first season as racing secretary at Calder, couldn't have been happier with the response to the Summit of Speed.

"I'm ecstatic with the card," said Anifantis. "It's probably the best single-day program I've ever been associated with. There are current stars and future stars in almost every race, and a lot of full and competitive fields to wager on."

Among those full fields is a 14-horse lineup for the third race, carded for 2-year-old maidens.

"Normally we cap those races at 12 starters," said Anifantis, but he said that Calder's president, Ken Dunn, "said to take 14 if we can get them, since it's our big day. This way we can . . . assure ourselves a full field even if we wind up drawing a late scratch or two."

Anifantis is also hoping to have the turf course open for training "the wrong way" on Friday for any horse expected to compete in the race to be run clockwise on the July 22 Extreme Day program.

"If we can't open the turf because of the weather, we'll allow horses being pointed for the wrong-way race to work clockwise over the main track on Friday after regular training hours are over," said Anifantis.

Extreme Day will also feature two races being run simultaneously, as well as the $250,000 Bob Umphrey Handicap at two miles on the turf.