01/20/2002 1:00AM

Mellow Fellow best in Montclair

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ALBANY, Calif. - Mellow Fellow, who had not raced in a stakes race since finishing third in the Los Angeles Handicap (G3) in June 2000, made an explosive move in the stretch to win the Montclair Handicap at Golden Gate Fields on Saturday.

Mellow Fellow ($12.60) defeated Radar Contact by two lengths as he won the six-furlong race in 1:09.19.

Mellow Fellow was eighth in the early going as El Dorado Shooter and Gibson County cut out rapid 21.46 and 44.22 fractions.

"That was the old Mellow Fellow today," said Bill Morey, who saddled the horse for his father, Bill Morey Jr., who co-owns the 7-year-old gelding with Ronelle Heller. "He gave his old run. He swung out to the middle of the track and just crushed them."

Jockey Russell Baze was unseated in the gate by Mellow Fellow. After the victory, which gave him five for the day, Baze said, "He swung a little wider than I would have liked, but he was going so good I just let him. I didn't want to break his momentum."

El Dorado Shooter, who set the track record when winning the Montclair last year, finished sixth as the favorite in his first race since May 26, 2001. Jockey Chad Schvaneveldt said the 5-year-old gelding tired but seemed to come out of the race fine.