"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.
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
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.