04/03/2002 1:00AM

On the Game back to face Wicklow Highlands


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Gulfstream Park invaders On the Game and Wicklow Highlands are the obvious protagonists in Friday's featured eighth race at Woodbine, a $75,300 allowance for 4-year-olds and up.

Six others were entered in the seven-furlong race, limited to nonwinners of $45,180 other than maiden or claiming in 2001-02.

On the Game showed he had talent by posting a 5 1/4-length maiden win in his debut here last summer. He subsequently was sold by trainer Laurie Silvera to John Franks, who turned him over to trainer David Bell.

On the Game won back-to-back allowance races here late in the summer, and was second in a restricted stakes at Keeneland in October. He won his most recent local outing, against $80,000 optional claimers Nov. 18.

On the Game was prominent in all four of his Florida outings during the winter, which included a win by disqualification in an optional claimer at Calder. The highlight of his career had to be his fourth-place finish behind Sir Bear, Red Bullet, and Hal's Hope in the Grade 3 Skip Away Handicap at Gulfstream, for which he was awarded a Beyer Speed Figure of 103.

On the Game is coupled with the Layne Giliforte-trained Smart Alert, who won a $12,300 allowance race at Tampa Bay Downs a month ago.

Wicklow Highlands nearly pulled off a shocking upset here in the fall, when he finished a lapped-on second to Win City in the Autumn Handicap. He tired after showing speed in both of his January races at Gulfstream, but is coming off a decisive victory over $50,000 claimers there.

Rounding out the eighth-race field are Northernprospector, Academic, Runaway Love, Lil Personalitee, and Sun Tzu.

Wolverine, Forever Grand in sprint

Queen's Plate nominees Wolverine and Forever Grand are among the six Ontario-sired 3-year-olds in the sixth race on the card, a five-furlong allowance.

Wolverine won his maiden traveling seven furlongs in his second start in October for trainer Reade Baker. A son of Matter of Honor, he was bet down to 2-1 in the restricted Kingarvie Stakes on closing day of the 2001 Woodbine meet, but finished a dull fourth.

Forever Grand is also making his first appearance of the year. He took his debut by a widening 6 1/2 lengths in a five-furlong maiden dash Oct. 26, but could only manage fourth as the heavy favorite in a subsequent allowance.

Bob Tiller, who trains Forever Grand, as well as reigning Canadian horse of the year Win City, has scored with three of his first five starters at this stand.