12/12/2005 12:00AM

Vicente back after long absence

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ALBANY, Calif. - For every Lost in the Fog, there are dozens of Vicentes, talented horses kept from living up to their full potential for any number of reasons.

As a 2-year-old, Vicente ran second in a two-furlong race in his debut in April. Owned by Harry Aleo and trained by Greg Gilchrist - the connections of Lost in the Fog - Vicente won his next start, by four lengths at Pleasanton in July 2004.

Seventeen months later, Lost in the Fog is a strong candidate for an Eclipse Award, and Vicente is preparing for his belated third career start in Wednesday's Golden Gate Fields feature, a $25,000 claiming sprint for 3-year-olds going six furlongs.

Also in the field is Thresher, who won the Cavonnier Juvenile Stakes last year at Santa Rosa, a race that was in Vicente's sights after his maiden victory.

"Anybody can see the horse has problems," Gilchrist said of Vicente. "You don't take a year and a half off with a horse. I'd like to say there was a major problem, but I'd have to put it in the plural."

Gilchrist isn't sure where Vicente really fits these days. In that case, he's just like anyone else handicapping the field of 10.

"It's hard to compare what he's really worth," Gilchrist said. "Going five furlongs as a 2-year-old in Pleasanton is a lot different than competing against seasoned runners when you're almost 4."

Here's what can be compared:

Vicente has two starts, while all other runners in the race have at least two victories, except Padilla Bay, who has a win and a third in seven starts.

Vicente got a 72 Beyer Speed Figure for his win at Pleasanton. Five rivals have higher Beyers in their last start, and all nine have higher career bests.

Still, Vicente has nine strong works, including a six-furlong bullet, and Russell Baze will be aboard. Despite the negatives, he could be the one to beat, although he will likely be overbet.

Playin the Niners, who prepped against older horses, is an alternative for bettors who don't want to play the guessing game with Vicente.

- Lost in the Fog is doing fine during his vacation at a farm in Florida, Gilchrist said. He also said his two outstanding 2-year-olds, Frisco Star and Victorina, are doing well. Frisco Star, who broke a 20-year-old Santa Rosa track record in his debut, worked three furlongs in 36.20 seconds Saturday after an absence due to shin problems. Victorina had her first work in nearly two months on Friday, going three furlongs in 36.80.