11/07/2002 1:00AM

Ready or not, here comes 'Bulldog'


CHICAGO - Is Bulldog George ready for Chicago? Is Chicago ready for Bulldog George?

Only inches away from being undefeated in his seven career starts, Bulldog George has outgrown his home track, Fairmount Park, and on Saturday he travels to Chicago for the $100,000 Lightning Jet Stakes. It's not just the move from Fairmount to Hawthorne that's a challenge. The 3-year-old Bulldog George takes on the best Illinois-bred sprinters going in the six-furlong Lightning Jet.

Yet he may be ready. Bulldog George didn't make his first start until June 16, but wasted no time demonstrating his talent. An 18 1/4-length debut winner at Fairmount, Bulldog George returned a week later and beat allowance horses by more than 15 lengths, then easily won a stakes. He comes to the Lightning Jet off three more consecutive wins, the last a 3 1/2-length score over Char's Bob'n Robin, a two-time allowance winner at the Arlington meet.

And still Jimmy Wiser, the man who broke Bulldog George as a yearling and trains him now, wonders how good this young gelding might be. "We don't know. We haven't seen the best of him yet," Wiser said. "He just runs as hard as he has to. He's kind of lazy, easygoing."

Like many unusually talented horses, Bulldog George likes to play around as much as he likes to run. He will gawk at any little thing that catches his eye during a race, and he's as likely to take a sharp turn as he is to run straight to the wire. "You've got to know this horse," Wiser said. "At least the jockey has got to know him."

Fairmount-based rider Mike Gale has ridden Bulldog George throughout the horse's career. That includes the night in late July when Bulldog George was confused by his first two-turn race and a trip under the Fairmount lights, and lost by a nose in a handicap.

Earlier this week, Wiser said Gale would ride Bulldog George at Hawthorne, but at entry time he named local rider Eddie Razo. Razo may have to adapt to some quirks, but by now at least, Bulldog George's connections know what to expect.

Bulldog George's owners, George Bauer and John Kirby, bred the geldings, and Wiser broke him at his Diamond J Stables in Millstadt, Ill. "We knew he had a lot of promise," said Wiser. "We just had to give him a chance."

Bulldog George had shins and sniffles as a 2-year-old, but Wiser figured a patient approach couldn't hurt with a horse that might really be able to run. "It took him a long time to get started," he said. "I finally did get him right, or somewhat right, and he started getting better and better as he went."

But just how good, Wiser - and Chicago - are about to find out.