07/02/2002 12:00AM

Fairmount: The Bulldog tested


COLLINSVILLE, Ill. - Thursday's $25,000-added Roman Colonel Stakes for 3-year-old colts and geldings at six furlongs boils down to one thing: How good is Bulldog George?

Trainer Jimmy Wiser knew he had a good one a year ago, but each time Bulldog George got close to a race, an injury - he shin-bucked twice - would halt his progress. A full brother and stablemate to the stakes-placed filly Shania's Code, Bulldog George finally made it to the races June 16 and destroyed a maiden special field by more than 18 lengths.

In need of more seasoning before taking on stakes company, Bulldog George wheeled right back June 23 and romped again, winning an allowance race by 15. Bulldog George will now get the chance to prove how good he is. Mike Gale gets a return call.

Canyon De Oro comes into the race off back-to-back wins, most recently in an overnight handicap at one mile on June 8, in which he defeated Thursday rivals Little Joe Tubb and Matched. He hails from the barn of Fairmount's hottest trainer, Leroy Hellman, who has won with 22 of his last 51 starters after getting off to a dismal 1 for 31 start to the meet.