Champion Lost in the Fog Euthanized

Champion Lost in the Fog Euthanized
Photo: Barbara D. Livingston
Lost in the Fog, lost his battle with cancer and was euthanized Sunday.
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Lost in the Fog, last year's Eclipse Award-winning sprinter, was euthanized Sept. 17, three weeks after doctors found three cancerous tumors in his spleen and along his back.

The charismatic champion with the crooked blaze began his career with 10 consecutive victories, a streak that was broken when he finished unplaced in the 2005 TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) at Belmont Park.

"We accomplished what we wanted to do," said trainer Greg Gilchrist Sept. 18. "It was all about giving him quality (time). We did everything we could for him. He was happy and content right up to the end. He went quietly and easily."

Gilchrist had just finished grazing Lost in the Fog outside his barn at Golden Gate Fields on the San Francisco Bay Sept. 17, which he did twice daily, and was heading to the paddock to saddle a horse when Lost in the Fog went into distress.

During a teleconference held later in he day, Gilchrist said it was tough to say goodbye to Lost in the Fog.
 
"It was very emotional," said Gilchrist. "I probably won't ever get over it. I always said when it got too bad, Lost in the Fog would let me know. I think he did yesterday. If he was a person, he would have said, 'It's time.' That's life and we have to deal with it. People come and go. I'll just see him on the other side."
 
It was unclear whether Lost in the Fog was already suffering the effects of his illness at last year's Breeders' Cup, as doctors noted the tumors may have been growing for up to a year. As a 4 year old this season, Lost in the Fog won once, taking the Aristides Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) at Churchill Downs in June. He captured 11 of 14 starts and earned $978,099.

Lost in the Fog, the most popular horse to come out of Northern California since Seabiscuit, was owned by San Francisco real-estate magnate Harry Aleo. The gruff octogenarian endeared himself to racing fans by firmly refusing to sell his star runner, even when the offers climbed into the high seven figures. "What the hell would I do that for?" Aleo asked. "I've been waiting all my life for a horse like this, and if I took all those millions I'd still be sitting here today doing what I'm doing, and I wouldn't have that horse that has given me all this excitement and enjoyment. I'm not in the selling business. I'm in the racing business."

Gilchrist resisted the urgings of others to stretch Lost in the Fog out for the 3 year old Classic races last year, and was vindicated by the championship season turned in by his charge. Lost in the Fog proved best in the King's Bishop Stakes (gr. I), Carry Back Stakes (gr. II), Riva Ridge Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. II), Swale Stakes (gr. II), and Bay Shore Stakes (gr. III).

"As much as he accomplished, we'll never know how good he really was," Gilchrist said. "What a warrior, to win a graded stakes race three months before he was put down. He never let us down, and we didn't ever want to let him down."

Fans around the country got to see this national traveler, a throwback to bygone eras when horses raced often and in numerous locales. As a 3 year old, Lost in the Fog made three separate trips to Florida and four journeys to New York, running just twice in Northern California all year. The son of Lost Soldier--Cloud Break, by Dr. Carter, was bred in Florida by Susan Seper.

In mid-August, Gilchrist noted his star was uncomfortable at the barn, and took him to the University of California at Davis' Large Animal Clinic for what was believed to be a case of colic. However, doctors found a cancerous mass in the colt's spleen. Further tests revealed the presence of other masses that were inoperable. Medication was then employed to see if the masses could be shrunk enough so that chemotherapy or surgery might be applicable. "We will do anything we can for the horse," Gilchrist said. "It's almost a Barbaro-type situation."

Moved back to his stall at Golden Gate Fields, Lost in the Fog was reported by Gilchrist to be in good spirits. A week before his death, Gilchrist said during a phone conversation that the colt had bit him on the thumb that morning.

Gilchrist said Lost in the Fog will be cremated and it's likely his ashes will go to Southern Chase Farm in Florida, where he was raised.

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