10/01/2003 12:00AM

Bell armed with two stakes shots


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer David Bell hasn't visited the stakes winner's circle at Woodbine yet this year.

But Bell will be looking to rectify that situation this weekend, with On the Game set for Saturday's $163,800 Durham Cup and Smoocher slated to start in Sunday's $250,000 Grey.

On the Game, a Kentucky-bred 5-year-old owned by John Franks, will be seeking his first stakes score in the Durham Cup, a Grade 3 handicap for 3-year-olds and upward at 1 1/8 miles.

The Durham Cup also will be On the Game's third start off a lengthy layoff, as he was sidelined after finishing last of six in the Eclipse Handicap here May 11, 2002, and did not return to the races until this Aug. 16.

"He'd injured his shoulder pretty badly in his last race, and then we found he had knee trouble, as well," Bell said. "So, we just gave him a lot of time."

On the Game was sent to the Franks farm in Florida, where he was put back into training this winter, and returned to Bell here this spring.

And while On the Game surprised many when he won straight off the bench, capturing a seven-furlong classified allowance at 25-1, Bell himself had been quietly confident.

"It's always tough, after an injury," Bell said. "You wonder how they're going to come back. But, he'd been training the part."

On the Game has started once since the August victory, finishing third, 1 1/4 lengths back, in the 1 1/16-mile allowance prep for the Durham Cup here Sept. 14.

"He ran well enough, but I was a little disappointed," said Bell said. "There's the bounce theory - I usually don't believe in it. He ran so hard the first time back.

"But, I think he'll improve off that race."

Second try does it for Smoocher

Smoocher, owned and bred by Franks, heads into the Grade 2, 1 1/16-mile Grey after rallying for a nose victory over seven furlongs in his second career outing here on Aug. 31.

In his debut here Aug. 9, Smoocher had finished a troubled fifth, beaten 4 1/2 lengths by subsequent stakes winner Winter Whiskey.

The Grey, said Bell, "was something we'd always hoped he'd be up to. His pedigree's 'long,' and he's a great big long-striding horse.

"After he won, we were very happy with him."

Smoocher had checked in this spring at the same time as Zakocity, another Florida-bred homebred 2-year-old whom Bell trains for Franks.

"They were both highly regarded," Bell said. "Zakocity went on to win, but Smoocher got a little sick. He just took a little bit of time."

Zakocity, who had won his maiden in his May 25 debut at 4 1/2 furlongs, has gone on to finish third in the 6 1/2-furlong Colin and most recently was a troubled last of 10 in the Sept. 14 Summer over a mile on turf.

Although he also was nominated to the Grey, Zakocity currently is in Florida with trainer Marty Wolfson and is scheduled to run in the $400,000 In Reality, the 1 1/16-mile final division of the Florida Stallion Series for 2-year-olds at Calder on Oct. 11.

Bullet for Dream About

Dream About, an 8 1/4-length winner of the Grade 2 Mazarine over 1 1/16 miles here Sept. 20, breezed five furlongs in 1:00.20 on the fast main track here Wednesday morning.

Jockey Patrick Husbands was aboard for the drill, which was the fastest of 36 at the distance.

"She worked very nicely," said Josie Carroll, who trains Dream About for the Arosa Farm of Jurgen Schemmer and caught the filly galloping out six furlongs in 1:14.

Carroll and Schemmer had discussed the possibility of running Dream About in the Oct. 25 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies following her emphatic Mazarine score but now are leaning toward the Oct. 12 Princess Elizabeth here at Woodbine.

The determining factor, said Carroll, was that the Princess Elizabeth, "is right here, in our own backyard."

A victory by Dream About in the $250,000 Princess Elizabeth, a 1 1/16-mile race for Canadian-bred 2-year-old fillies, would make her difficult to deny in the Sovereign Award balloting for the division.

Dream About's principal opponents in the Princess Elizabeth are expected to include Silver Bird, who was a six-length winner prepping for the stakes in a 6 1/2-furlong allowance race here last Friday.

Silver Bird is owned by Jim McAlpine and trained by Reade Baker.

Breeze for Heyahohowdy

Heyahohowdy also breezed five furlongs on the main track Wednesday, going in 1:03 under jockey Emile Ramsammy with an eye toward the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor Stakes here Oct. 19.

"I just blew her out, to take a little bit of the edge off," said Abraham Katryan, who trains Heyahohowdy for the Kelynack Racing Stable of Glenn Harvey. "She was getting a little too tough on me."

Heyahohowdy, winner of the Flaming Page over 1 1/2 miles on turf here Sept. 7, will be cutting back to 1 1/4 miles for the E.P. Taylor, a $750,000 turf race for fillies and mares.

* Jim Mazur and Peter Mallett, co-authors of the Breeders' Cup guide "Crushing the Cup," will join Woodbine analyst Jim Bannon here Saturday for a one-hour seminar beginning at 11 a.m. on the second floor of the grandstand.