07/31/2001 11:00PM

Looking for a Jim Dandy price?


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - He's 2 for 2 over the track and 1 for 1 at the distance. And, he'll be a price in Saturday's Grade 1 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga.

Windsor Castle, last year's Remsen winner who was forced off the Triple Crown trail because of illness, finally gets to challenge some of the 3-year-old division's best in the nine-furlong Jim Dandy, the traditional prep for the Grade 1 Travers on Aug. 25. Among those Windsor Castle will face are Preakness and Belmont Stakes runner-up A P Valentine and Kentucky Derby and Preakness third-place finisher Congaree.

The Jim Dandy field underwent some changes Wednesday, 24 hours before post positions were to be drawn. Free of Love and Indygo Shiner were added to the field while Drewman was withdrawn because of injury. Scorpion, who was entered in Friday's Amsterdam Stakes, is expected to scratch from that spot to run in the Jim Dandy. Kid Rigo and Griffinite are also expected to run.

While most of the wagering will focus on Congaree and A P Valentine, Windsor Castle could be a sleeper. Last summer, he went 2 for 2 at Saratoga, winning a pair of sprint races. While his pedigree - he's a son of Lord Carson - suggests he's merely a sprinter, Windsor Castle surprised when he won the Grade 2 Remsen at nine furlongs in November at Aqueduct.

"He's got a great disposition and I think that's one of the reasons why he can get a route of ground," trainer Frank Alexander said.

After an illness knocked Windsor Castle out of the Triple Crown series, Alexander and his new partner, Cot Campbell's Dogwood Stable, decided to point the horse toward the summer's prestigious 3-year-old races.

Windsor Castle returned in a money allowance race at seven furlongs, finishing second behind Put It Back. He stepped up to the Grade 2 Riva Ridge on Belmont Stakes Day and finished fourth behind Put It Back.

In the four-horse Dwyer, a one-turn 1 1/16-mile race, Windsor Castle finished second, 5 3/4 lengths behind E Dubai.

"I think he's progressed well," Alexander said. "He had two sprints, which were not his game, and he ran well in the 1 1/16-mile Dwyer.

"I think a short field hurts come-from-behind horses more than big fields because they don't get in the thick of things. Going around two turns he'll probably lay a little bit closer anyway."

Probable Jim Dandy favorite Congaree arrived at Saratoga at about 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, following a cross-country flight from California. "He looks great, shipped in good," said Tonja Terranova, who will assist trainer Bob Baffert in Congaree's training until Baffert's arrival.

Spain returns in Ballerina

Spain, upset winner of last fall's Breeders' Cup Distaff, will return to the races in the Grade 1 Ballerina Handicap, trainer D. Wayne Lukas confirmed Wednesday.

Spain has not been out since a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom on April 1. Lukas said there was nothing ailing Spain. He and Spain's owner, The Thorough-bred Corp., just felt it was a good time to give the filly a break. She will be pointed to this year's Distaff, with probable starts in the Ruffian and Beldame at Belmont leading up to the Breeders' Cup.

"If we were going to be competitive in October, we needed at some point to take a break," Lukas said. "We discussed it and felt the best time for a break would be right then so she would be ready for August, September, and October."

Last Friday, Spain worked five furlongs in 1:00.63.

Lukas has already sent out four winners at this meet, one more than he did all of last year. One of those winners was Orientate, a 3-year-old colt who won a maiden race on Saturday by 6 1/2 lengths.

Lukas said he is inclined to run Orientate, a son of Mt. Livermore, in an allowance race before tackling stakes company.

Parcells visits McGaughey

Former football coach and horse owner Bill Parcells was a visitor to the Saratoga backstretch Wednesday morning.

Parcells, who coached the New York Giants to a pair of Super Bowl victories and most recently guided the New York Jets to the AFC championship game in 1999, visited Shug McGaughey's barn on the Oklahoma training track. McGaughey used to train horses for Parcells.

"I got out in January," Parcells said of his Thoroughbred ownership. "The last three I bought had a little bad luck."

Tan and significantly trimmer than fans may remember him, Parcells looked as though retirement suited him well. "All I do is workout and play golf," Parcells said.

When asked what else he was doing, Parcells quoted friend and former football coach Bum Phillips. "He'd say, 'Not a damn thing. . . . And I don't start doing that till noon," ' Parcells said.

Parcells said he planned to be in Saratoga through Saturday and may come back toward the end of the meet.

This fall, Parcells said he will do some radio work for Sporting News Radio - a weekly show he can do from his New Jersey home. He will also serve as an analyst for one Monday Night Football game on CBS radio.

"I want to keep this fall completely for myself for the most part," Parcells said.

Wheelaway suffers one more setback

Wheelaway, unraced since the 2000 Belmont Stakes, suffered another setback in his bid to make it back to the races.

Trainer John Kimmel said Wheelaway suffered a little tear in the suspensory of his left foreleg following a workout last week. Kimmel said the tear wasn't significant and was only found after he took precautionary X-rays.

"He'll get a couple of weeks walking and we'll re-ultrasound it and decide whether to put the tack on him," Kimmel said. "I don't think it's going to require a lot of down time, but it sure is frustrating."

Kimmel said last week that he was going to look for a spot to run Wheelaway in the second half of this meet. Wheelaway has had a number of setbacks since suffering bone chips while finishing fourth in the 2000 Belmont.

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