The deceased champion sprinter Lost in the Fog's cancer was much more extensive than originally believed and most likely had been growing for many months.
Results of the necropsy, released Oct. 18, showed a gigantic tumor that compromised several of his internal organs.
Located directly below his spine, one inoperable lymphoma ran almost the length of the colt's back. Doctors at University of California at Davis, where the necropsy also was performed, originally thought that tumor to be about one foot long.
"It went all the way from his pelvis to invade and erode his diaphragm and chest cavity," said Dr. David Wilson, director of UCD's large animal clinic, who was part of a large team of veterinarians and specialists who worked with the horse. "It also involved his arteries, kidneys and intestinal organs. It actually invaded one kidney and compressed both.
"It came right up against his aorta," Wilson added. "He had experienced swelling in his hind legs and that was no doubt caused by the tumors pressing on blood vessels."
In earlier tests, the large tumor had been partially hidden from view by other organs. In addition to the gigantic growth, Lost in the Fog also carried a tumor the size of a football in his spleen.
"What absolutely amazed me was how tough this guy was and how well he tolerated everything," Wilson said. "It just floors me; the extent of this cancer and how he handled it with a minimum of discomfort. He had to have had it for at least several months."
Trained by Greg Gilchrist and owned by Harry Aleo, Lost in the Fog won his last stakes -- the Aristides Handicap (gr. III) at Churchill Downs -- on June 3 and ran his final race -- finishing ninth in Calder's Smile Sprint (gr. II) -- on July 15 before the cancer was discovered in August. Winner of his first 10 races, the 4-year-old colt had started chemotherapy last month, but was euthanized Sept. 17 at Golden Gate Fields following a seizure.
Originally, the plan was to send Lost in the Fog's remains to Florida's Southern Chase Farm, where the Florida-bred son of Lost Soldier
was raised. But owner Harry Aleo decided this week that his superstar should stay at Golden Gate Fields.
"This is where he lived, where he raced and where he died," Aleo said. "This is where he should stay."
Plans are now in the works to create some sort of monument at the track and inter his ashes there, Aleo said.
Fans had contacted the owner about possibly erecting a statue to Lost in the Fog at Golden Gate Fields, where he set the track record for six furlongs (1:07.32) and trained regularly. But Aleo would prefer something more low key.
"I don't want to exploit him," Aleo said. "(The memorial) will be just something simple so people can remember this great horse."
Aleo remains astounded that Lost in the Fog could perform at such a high level before his cancer was diagnosed. Doctors told the owner that the tumors could have been growing for up to a year. Yet just weeks before his death, Lost in the Fog continued to record bullet workouts at Golden Gate.
"If he hadn't had this problem, he never would have been beaten," Aleo said. Own the Memory: Visit the Lost in the Fog Collection at the Blood-Horse Photo Store.