10/01/2001 12:00AM

Nice spot for classy 'Fellow'

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Wednesday's headliner at Bay Meadows, a $34,000 optional claiming/ allowance dash, provides handicappers with an interesting question: Go for the sharp recent runners or a classy fellow returning from a long layoff? The six-furlong race drew six entrants, and the classy Mellow Fellow makes his return after nearly 15 months on the sidelines.

If people and horses can be judged by the company they keep, just peruse the past performance lines of Mellow Fellow. He was winless in eight starts during the 2000 season, but in the company lines you will find such names as Kona Gold, Freespool, Lexicon, and Sonfapistol. He should find Wednesday's competition a bit easier.

Mellow Fellow has been training well over the local strip for Bill Morey. His last race was in June 2000, when he closed with a rush to be third, beaten only a head for all the money by stakes winner Grady. Mellow Fellow also finished second in the Grade 3 Los Angeles Handicap last year. He has won five of his 17 lifetime starts and banked over $183,000.

Balisardo and Big Bad Al both move into Wednesday's feature off victories and should have something to say about the outcome. Balisardo has won his last two starts at Emerald Downs for trainer Larry Ross and has a nice five-furlong work at Golden Gate. He won his maiden race in August and captured an allowance his last time out, on Sept. 9.

Big Bad Al comes off a game victory in an allowance here on Sept. 21 and has been very consistent in his limited career. Trained by Gil Matos, he will have the services of Russell Baze on Wednesday and has a record of two wins, a second, and two thirds in only five trips to the post.

South City and Silver Prince also have sharp recent form and should not be overlooked. South City was beaten a nose his last time out, in allowance company at Santa Rosa, and appears to be much improved. He had won his previous two starts against $6,500 claiming company and in a starter allowance .

Silver Prince wound up second-best last out behind Hobar after setting the pace to the stretch. Silver Prince also scored in his previous start in allowance company at Sacramento.

Juveniles headline Big Fresno Fair

The $100,000 Jessman Cloud Memorial Stakes, the richest race on the northern California summer fair circuit, headlines the 11-day Big Fresno Fair meet that opens Wednesday.

The meet runs through Sunday, Oct. 14, with the lone dark day on Tuesday, Oct. 9. Post times are 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, 12:45 p.m. for both Fridays, and 1:30 p.m. for Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

Two-year-olds will contest the Jessman Cloud Memorial Stakes at six furlongs on Saturday.

The other stakes to be run at the meet are: the $6,000-added Region 2 K Cuch Jedah Stakes for Arabians at 1 1/16 miles on Oct. 6; $9,000-added California ARC Gold Cup for Arabians at six furlongs on Oct. 13; $10,000 Fresno Quarter AMRA Gold Cup for mules at 440 yards on Oct. 14; and the $50,000 Bulldog Stakes for Cal-bred 3-year-olds on Oct. 14.