Updated on 09/16/2011 8:02AM

Will Beyond Brilliant fire off layoff?


ALBANY, Calif. - Northern California's top two older male sprinters meet in Sunday's feature race at Golden Gate Fields, the $55,000-added Danville Handicap.

Beyond Brilliant, who has won 7 of 13 starts and was favored over Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Squirtle Squirt when the two met last spring, will be the high weight in the field of five at 121 pounds. Beyond Brilliant will be making his first start since placing third in the $150,000 Gallant Bob Handicap at Philadelphia Park on Oct. 6.

Mellow Fellow, who has won four straight, including the Montclair Handicap here on Jan. 19, gets in at 119 pounds. He has won 9 of 22 starts and $276,663, most of which he earned after being claimed for $20,000 by trainer Bill Morey.

Trainer Greg Gilchrist expects a good performance from Beyond Brilliant, but he adds a note of caution.

"I don't have him screwed down as tight as I can get," he said. "I know he's tight enough to race. You hope they come back as good as when they left."

Gilchrist has been careful bringing his star sprinter back because of the condition of the track here.

"There have been a lot of horses hurt. That's been well-chronicled," he said. "Every horse is important to me, but with a horse like this, you hold your breath every time he goes out on the track.

"You have to go out and march a fine line. If you can't train, you can't run. I haven't set him down except for a couple works."

Beyond Brilliant's last work was a bullet 58.60-second work of five furlongs from the gate on March 16.

Gilchrist has great respect for Mellow Fellow. "Mellow Fellow doesn't care who he runs against," Gilchrist said. "He lays it down all the time. I'm in a very vulnerable position against him because I haven't run in almost six months."

Morey said Mellow Fellow is coming up to the race in fine shape. "He's feeling good. He just seems to be training really good and running well, too."

Morey likes the way Russell Baze, 3 for 3 with Mellow Fellow at the current meeting, rides the 7-year-old gelding.

"We always thought he was best making one big run," he said. "When you allow him just to settle early, he can put on a big-league move."

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