Hall of Fame rider Russell Baze made sure a rare trip to South Florida paid off when he guided the promising sprinter Lost in the Fog to a 4 ½-length victory in the $250,000 Ocala Stud Dash.
The winner, undefeated now in three tries, ran the six-furlong race for 3-year-olds in 1:09.96 as the 7-10 choice in the field of 10.
Santana Springs was second with Lucky Frolic third.
Trainer Greg Gilchrist shipped the Florida-bred son of Lost Soldier
from his Northern California base.
"You always have concerns when you go away from home," Gilchrist noted. "Usually our tracks on the West Coast are a lot harder and faster than the ones here on the East Coast so it's always in the back of your mind, 'Do I have this horse fit enough?' But when they turned for home today I knew he was going to be fine."
He said the $150,000 Swale (gr. II) at Gulfstream on March 5 at seven furlongs is a possibility.
"There's not much temptation for me to put this horse on the Derby trail. I would like to stretch him out and see if it will work out, but I'm going to do what's best for the horse. I think he can stretch out. To tell the truth I'm not sure what he can't do at this point. He's surprised me every time."
Lost in the Fog, who was bred by Susan Seper and is owned by Harry Aleo, has won races in California, Arizona, and Florida. Baze was aboard each effort.
He earned $137,500 for the victory, swelling his bankroll to $182,075.
Pressed early by Bushwacker for the lead through an opening quarter mile of :22, Lost in the Fog began to pull away after a half in :44 3/5 and five furlongs in :57. He increased his margin through the lane to win under slight urging from Baze.
"I wasn't worried until I made the lead and then he starting pricking his ears a little bit," Baze said. "I wasn't sure if he was goofing around or getting tired. So I shook him up a little bit and he responded right away, so I knew then he was just goofing around."
He paid $3.40, $3 and $2.60. Santana Springs returned $5.60 and $4.40. Lucky Frolic's show was $12.40.
B.B. Best, Run Thruthe Sun, Kruel Intention, Seize the Day, Bushwacker, Primitive Man and Packy followed.