10/21/2001 11:00PM

On the Game looks strong as meet winds down


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Okay, okay. So they've pretty much blown all their major races. They are down to features that few have heard about and even fewer know about. The Keeneland officials are, for all intents and purposes, playing out the string at what remains of their 17-day fall meet.

But as that old bumper sticker might say, "A bad day at Keeneland is better than a good day almost anywhere else."

Wednesday kicks off the final four-day stretch of the meet, which ends Saturday with an abbreviated card, highlighted by the Grade 3 Fayette Stakes. The Wednesday headliner is the second running of the $75,000 McConnell Springs Stakes, which drew a well-matched field of five.

The McConnell Springs is a rarity for Keeneland in that it is restricted. Only 3-year-olds who have never won a stakes at a distance beyond a mile are eligible, a condition that should make On the Game, trained by David Bell, considerably more competitive than he was in his last start, the Sept. 29 Ohio Derby.

On the Game, owned by John Franks, probably will be a slight favorite in the 1 1/16-mile race, partly because Pat Day has the call. On the Game adds blinkers after finishing a non-threatening sixth in the Ohio Derby, beaten 12 lengths by the victorious Western Pride.

The main challenger is probably Compendium, whose three victories this year include the Northern Spur at Oaklawn and the Northern Dancer at Churchill Downs. The rest of the field is Trion Georgia, Astrologist, and Freon Flier.

Three allowance races also are carded Wednesday; first post is 1:15 p.m. Eastern.

Fayette coming up strong

The $150,000 Fayette is coming up stronger than might have been expected, with Outofthebox and Broken Vow heading a field that also is scheduled to draw Concerned Minister from Maryland and Just Ruler from California.

The Fayette is one of only four races to be run here Saturday.

The other remaining features here this meeting are the Green River on Thursday and the Hopemont on Friday.

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