04/03/2008 11:00PM

Butterfly Belle back north


SAN MATEO, Calif. - A historic reunion will take place at Bay Meadows on Sunday when Russell Baze rides Butterfly Belle in a $16,000 claimer for fillies and mares at five furlongs on the turf.

Baze rode Butterfly Belle to victory on Dec. 1, 2006, when she captured a $12,500 claimer, also at five furlongs on the turf. The win pushed Baze past Laffit Pincay Jr.'s record of 9,530 victories.

Who else but Baze would ride Butterfly Belle in her first Northern California start since that historic race?

The 6-year-old mare has won only one race since then, but has been running at higher claiming levels down south. Her lack of early speed will force Baze to thread his way through the field again, as he did while hugging the rail during his record ride.

The race drew an overflow field of 11 on a nine-race card that the Bay Meadows racing secretary, Tom Doutrich, again had to struggle to fill. Fortunately, he was able to split an $8,000 maiden claimer for fillies and mares at six furlongs and a $6,250 claimer at 1 1/16 miles on the turf, both races at the lowest level at the track.

"We don't have enough quality horses," said Doutrich, who couldn't get enough entries to fill a $25,000 claiming race that would have been the day's nominal feature instead of the $16,000 race featuring Baze and Butterfly Belle.

Even though he was able to get a $75,000 purse bumped up from the standard $55,000 for overnight stakes for next Saturday's Bay Meadows Oaks for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles, Doutrich was disappointed when only 13 fillies were nominated to the race.

Taking it easy with Indyanne

Trainer Greg Gilchrist will not work undefeated 3-year-old filly Indyanne before he goes to Arkansas for Vicarino's race in Thursday's Count Fleet at Oaklawn. She is coming back from minor knee surgery last fall.

"I'd like to work her every day, but she's been away a while so it makes sense to be patient," Gilchrist said.