A trip down the Triple Crown Trail could be on the line when Northern California-based Lost in the Fog leads a field of 11 runners to the gate for the March 5 Swale Stakes (gr. II), going seven furlongs at Gulfstream Park.
Lost in the Fog, who will carry 120 pounds, will break from the far outside post 11 under regular jockey Russell Baze.
Owner Harry Aleo did not nominate Lost in the Fog to the Triple Crown when the early deadline passed three weeks ago. Trainer Greg Gilchrist said a good race in the Swale would lead Aleo to pay the $6,000 supplementary fee.
"We'll definitely put up the money, and we'll definitely look for a two-turn race," said Gilchrist. "If he runs here and runs well, the Derby will definitely become our goal."
The son of Lost Soldier
made his 3-year-old debut by winning the Jan. 29 six-furlong Ocala Stud Sunshine Millions Dash at Gulfstream Park.
Lost in the Fog broke his maiden by seven lengths at first asking and followed that effort with a 14-length romp in the Arizona Juvenile Stakes.
"Maybe it's because I've been around a while," said Gilchrist. "Don't get me wrong. The number one thing I would want to do is run in the Kentucky Derby (grade I, May 7 at Churchill Downs), but no matter what, tomorrow is going to come. You've got the horse. You've got the races that get you there, but if you ruin the horse along the way, the Derby will come along and it won't matter."
Gilchrist has said the opportunity to run in the Sunshine Millions' - a race restricted to horses bred in Florida or California - altered the way he would have trained another promising 3-year-old bred someplace else.
"That race kept us in a sprint, and it also kept us from staying home," the conditioner said. "I would have liked to get him around two turns by now, but the main thing is to not really rush him. We don't want to jeopardize his future."
While Lost in the Fog will attract a lot of attention, the field of 11 starters is littered with talent.
Another horse to watch could be 122-pound highweight Santana Strings, who will break from post two under jockey John Velazquez.
Trained by Steve Asmussen for Ro Parra, Santana Strings and Lost in the Fog clashed in the Ocala Stud Dash, with Santana Strings finishing four-lengths behind in second.
Santana Strings will break from post two under jockey John Velazquez carrying a high-weight of 122 pounds.
Canadian invader What's Up Dude should be another top runner to watch. The Swale will mark the 3-year-old debut for the son of Furiously.
As a juvenile racing at Woodbine, What's Up Dude won the Swynford Stakes and finished third in the Silver Deputy Stakes for trainer Michael Mareina and owner Kuehne Racing.
The field for the March 5 $150,000 Swale Stakes (gr. II) includes:
1-- What's Up Dude (Jose A. Santos, 120)
2-- Santana Strings (John R. Velazquez, 122)
3--Around the Cape (Eibar Coa, 116)
4-- B Trick (Gerry Bacchas, 116)
5--Port Town (Cornelio H. Velasquez, 116)
6--Straight Line (Brice Blanc, 118)
7--Up Like Thunder (Joe Bravo, 116)
8--Evil Minister (Jerry D. Bailey, 116)
9--More Smoke (Clinton L. Potts, 118)
10--United (Ramon A. Dominguez, 116)
11--Lost in the Fog (Russell A. Baze, 120)