San Francisco’s Harry J. Aleo is back in Florida, ready to conquer the state again. And this time, he’s brought a 1-2 punch.
Aleo has his Eclipse Award-winning sprinter Lost in the Fog at Calder Race Course this afternoon, where the 4-year-old colt will be the big attraction in the $500,000 Smile Stakes, the featured event in the track’s $2 million Summit of Speed.
The Summit of Speed is in its sixth year and the five-race event has become one of the biggest days on the calendar for the best sprinters in the country. Lost in the Fog won the Carry Back Stakes, a lesser event on the card, last year in one of the more impressive efforts of his award-winning season. Lost in the Fog is back for Round 2 and this time he’s brought a stablemate, Victorina, with him.
Victorina is a 3-year-old filly Aleo purchased in April 2005. She has won a stakes at Golden Gate Fields and a stakes in Chicago. In her last start, she was a fast-closing third in the Dogwood Breeders’ Cup Stakes at Churchill Downs.
At Calder, Victorina will be running in the $300,000 Azalea Breeders’ Cup, a 6-furlong race for 3-year-old fillies. Her last race was at a mile, but Gilchrist thinks returning to the shorter distance will be no problem for Victorina, who has won three times and finished second twice in fivetries at the distance.
Lost in the Fog will be making his first start since winning the
Grade 3 Aristides Handicap on June 3 at Churchill Downs. Lost in the Fog beat Kelly’s Landing that day and Kelly’s Landing could be Lost in the Fog’s main competition today.
“Things are different for him this year,’’ Gilchrist said. “As a 3-year-old, he was racing against a select group of horses in his own age group.”
Lost in the Fog is the most accomplished runner a field of 13 entries in the Smile Stakes, but he will be forced to carry a staggering 125 pounds, even though he’s lost two of his last three races.
More importantly, Lost in the Fog will be conceding to his rivals anywhere from eight to 11 pounds. And this is a tough bunch. Four runners have won graded stakes and another five have won races worth $100,000 or more.
At even weights, Lost in the Fog would be considered a standout. The weight issue will have handicappers across the country wondering if he can pull it off.
Florida has been good to Aleo, who won three races with Lost in the Fog in the state, two at nearby Gulfstream Park and one at Calder. He also bought both Lost in the Fog and Victorina at sales in Florida.
Hopefully, today will just be another good day in the Sunshine State for him.
WHILE I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION: I’ve reached the point with Barry Bonds where I’m hiding my eyes. I’m afraid to pick up a paper. I’m afraid to watch television. I’m afraid to listen to the radio. Everywhere we turn there’s another head-shaking story that has made this season an endurance test for Giants fans and I can’t bare to watch.