10/27/2005 11:00PM

Victory by Fog would silence skeptics

Lost in the Fog, trained by Greg Gilchrist (top), would make it 11 straight victories with a win in the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

ELMONT, N.Y. - There will be a lot more at stake for Lost in the Fog on Saturday than the first place prize when the undefeated 3-year-old sensation runs as the heavy favorite in the $1,060,000 Breeders' Cup Sprint at Belmont Park.

A victory by Lost in the Fog in the six-furlong Sprint would not only cap a magical, undefeated season but also clinch the sprint championship, give Eclipse voters much to think about before they cast their ballots in the 3-year-old division, and put him in serious contention for Horse of the Year honors.

On the other hand, a loss would not only put a damper on what has been a brilliant campaign but also give Lost in the Fog's scattering of detractors additional fodder for their prevailing theory that his previous success has come at the expense of inferior competition.

Trainer Greg Gilchrist said that win or lose he is fully cognizant of the ramifications the Sprint could have, especially on the voting for year-end awards.

"I wouldn't say I'm feeling any pressure, but I am well aware we've got a target on our back," said Gilchrist, who trains Lost in the Fog for owner Harry Aleo. "I think he would deserve consideration for both the 3-year-old and Horse of the Year honors if he were to win again Saturday. And while it might detract from what he has achieved up to this point in the eyes of some people, if he does get beat in the Breeders' Cup it certainly won't in my mind."

The well-traveled Lost in the Fog brings a 10-for-10 record into the Sprint. He earned his first Grade 1 victory when he easily captured the King's Bishop in August at Saratoga.

"I don't know if he's the best horse in this race, but I do know we've all done our job, he's a happy horse, a sound horse, and a fit horse - and that's all you can ask coming into a race like this," said Gilchrist, the trainer of 1994 Sprint runner-up Soviet Problem. "My biggest concern is what happened to me in '94 with Soviet Problem - that some horse who ultimately finishes up the track runs you into the ground early and you get beat. But that's horse racing. Those horses have as much right to the track as we do.

"But the way things stand I wouldn't trade my chances with anybody."

Lost in the Fog could get an early challenge for the lead from longshots Lifestyle and Attila's Storm. If he does falter, the Sprint would become a wide-open affair with little separating at least a half-dozen of his 10 rivals.

Among the stalkers hoping to have first run on the favorite will be Gygistar, Battle Won, Lion Tamer, Wildcat Heir, and Silver Train. Taste of Paradise and Imperialism will be finishing best of all.

Gygistar is an intriguing longshot with his home-court advantage. The elder statesman in the field along with fellow 6-year-old Taste of Paradise, Gygistar has won 5 of his 8 starts at Belmont, including four graded stakes. He earned a career-best 115 Beyer Speed Figure defending his title in the Grade 3 Westchester Handicap earlier this year.

Taste of Paradise, Wildcat Heir, and Silver Train are all coming off their best performance from a speed figure standpoint.

The Southern California-based Taste of Paradise rallied from far back to win the Grade 1 Vosburgh by two lengths in his Belmont debut, earning a 110 Beyer.

Wildcat Heir received a 117 Beyer for his 5 3/4-length triumph in Monmouth Park's Teddy Drone Stakes on Aug. 7. That was his only start since he captured the Grade 1 De Francis Memorial Dash last November at Pimlico.

Silver Train led throughout to win the one-mile Jerome Handicap by five lengths on Sept. 11. Like Lost in the Fog, the 3-year-old Silver Train will be making only his second start against older horses in the Sprint.

Lion Tamer is winless in four tries since concluding his 2004 campaign with a victory in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile. He finished a fast-closing third in the Vosburgh.

Battle Won was second in both the Grade 1 Forego and Bing Crosby handicaps.

Imperialism rallied to beat a field that included Taste of Paradise going seven furlongs in the Grade 2 Pat O'Brien Breeders' Cup Handicap in August.