This weekend ends the 2010-2011 winter/spring meet and on tap is the fifth running of the Lost in the Fog Stakes, The only two-year-old stakes race of the meet , might be better known as the Jeff Bonde Invitational if things go as the trainer hopes.
Bonde has won the last two runnings of the race, in 2009 with Smiling Tiger and in 2010 with Road Ready. Each has won a stakes race in 2011 as well and both are right around the $100,000 mark in earnings.
This year, Bonde’s hopes for a three-peat may rest on the back of Mighty Monsoon. Although he has nominated four horses to the race, Monsoon is the only one already tabbed to go before the entries go in on Wednesday.
Based on the horse’s debut race, he may be the only one Bonde needs to win the race yet again.
The May 20th four furlong debut saw Monsoon have a troubled start, trail pace-setting Reconstruction by six lengths turning into the stretch, and after a late burst, caught and passed the Jerry Hollendorfer trainee in the shadow on the wire.
“My horse got wiped out at the start, and had to make up eight lengths on a horse of Jerry’s that he really liked. And we did it. I’d say that’s a good horse, wouldn’t you?” said Bonde. “He does everything right, he’s a smart horse and he comes with a run and that’s what you need to win. If we get a fair race, we have a great chance.”
I’d be remiss if I didn’t take this time to remind all bay area racing fans what kind of horse Lost in the Fog was.
Trained by Greg Gilchrist, Lost in the Fog was one of the most honest horses I ever had the pleasure to watch. He ran just 14 times, winning 11 while finishing second once. He was favored in all 14 of his races and won such races as the Grade 3 Aristides Breeders' Cup Handicap at Churchill Downs, the Grade 1 King’s Bishop Stakes at Saratoga and the Grade 2 Swale Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
But after racing for just two years, ‘Fog began a very public battle with health issues and the final determination was a pair of cancerous tumors that could not be removed.
Rather than prolong his life in pain with chemotherapy or extensive surgeries, his connections decided to van him back to his familiar surroundings at GGF for his final two weeks, finally euthanizing him on September 17th, 2006.
Lost in the Fog was cremated and his ashes buried in the infield at GGF next to Silky Sullivan.
His popularity is unquestioned in the bay, as a bobble head of him was given away in April of 2006.
Speaking of popularity, bay area fans never know if each time they watch Bold Chieftain run, whether or not they are watching him for the final time. Already having been retired once, the Chief was brought back to racing and last weekend lost the Berkeley Stakes by a head (below) for the third straight year.
That’s right, the same race, same result three years in a row. The result prompted Chief’s jockey Russell Baze the say “youth was served today”
I’m not sure if he meant the horse (4-yr-old Uh Oh Bango, the winner over the 8-yr-old Chief) or the 41-year-old Aaron Gryder who got the best of the 53-year-old Baze, in a stretch long battle.
Closing weekend news:
* Saturday’s first post is 11:45 a.m. A special Belmont Stakes Wine Festival will take place next to the winners circle. For $20, fans will get a GGF signature wine glass, five tasting of wines and hors d’ oeuvres. Live music and an art exhibit will also be featured.
* Sunday, as always, is dollar day (general admission, parking, programs, beers, hot dogs and sodas are all $1)
* Author Richard J. Maturi, who is on a national book tour, will be at GGF both Saturday and Sunday to autograph his book “Triple Crown Winner: the Earl Sande Saga”. Sande won five Belmonts in 10 years.