LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Stepping into the Churchill Downs winner's circle after gleefully watching his dream horse run to victory, owner Harry Aleo announced to no one in particular: "The Fog is back."
Indeed, by virtue of his 1 1/4-length triumph Saturday in the $131,450 Aristides Breeders' Cup Handicap, a race that snapped his two-race losing streak, Lost in the Fog flashed the form that made him the Eclipse Award-winning sprinter of 2005. Ridden by Russell Baze, Lost in the Fog had a perfect trip, gliding past early leader Exciting Metro and then holding off Kelly's Landing to win the Grade 3 Aristides.
"Some people have been saying he's over the hill, or whatever," said Baze. "He's not."
Lost in the Fog returned $3 as the heavy favorite in a field of six older horses. He ran the six furlongs in 1:08.52 over a fast track, nearly a second off the track record of 1:07.59 set in the Aristides last year by Kelly's Landing. Level Playingfield finished third, followed by Pro Prado, Exciting Metro, and Cougar Cat. Yes Yes Yes was an early scratch.
Lost in the Fog, a 4-year-old Florida-bred by Lost Soldier, was purchased by Aleo for $48,000 as a yearling and has been based throughout his racing career in northern California with trainer Greg Gilchrist. The colt opened his career with 10 straight wins before finishing seventh as the odds-on favorite in the Breeders' Cup Sprint last October. The colt then lost his only subsequent start, finishing second in the April 22 Golden Gate Sprint.
Gilchrist said he picked out the Aristides in large part to see how Lost in the Fog would handle the Churchill surface. The Breeders' Cup Sprint will be run here Nov. 4.
"He sure seemed to handle it fine," said Gilchrist.
Gilchrist said Lost in the Fog would return to Golden Gate to regroup before his probable next start, the $500,000 Smile Sprint Handicap on the July 15 Summit of Speed program at Calder.
Lost in the Fog carried high weight of 124 pounds in the Aristides. Gilchrist said the "only tough thing" about the colt winning was "now we'll have to carry a lot of weight the rest of the year. I guess that's part of having such a nice horse."
Attendance on a weather-perfect Saturday was 10,620.