05/20/2001 11:00PM

Windsor Castle back to races


ELMONT, N.Y.- In the wake of Sunday's pick four that paid $126,617 for $1, and with a pick six carryover of $41,332 awaiting bettors at Belmont on Wednesday, it's only natural that racetrackers are thinking big these days.

That goes double for Frank Alexander, who brings Windsor Castle back for his long-awaited 3-year-old debut for Dogwood Stable in the fourth race.

Unraced since contracting a virus in Florida during the winter, Windsor Castle rose to prominence in the juvenile division last fall when he broke through to win the Remsen after runner-up finishes in the Cowdin and Nashua.

"This is just a starting-off point. We lost a lot of time with him, so we just kind of took our time" said Alexander, who scratched Windsor Castle from a three-other-than allowance vs. older horses on Sunday.

Wednesday's seven-furlong allowance is for 3-year-olds that have not won $28,000 twice. The conditions also permit the entry of Fistfite, who beat Windsor Castle in the Cowdin here last fall for trainer Bill Badgett; and Put It Back, a laser-quick Hobeau Farm homebred who has won all three of his starts this season for the father-and-son team of Allen and Jimmy Jerkens, including a Beyer Speed Figure of 108 in the Best Turn.

The five-horse field also includes Bay Shore runner-up Multiple Choice, and Charlie's Cards, winner of a Maryland-bred stakes sprint.

The common thread among Windsor Castle's four rivals is that they are sprinter-miler types. Unlike them, Windsor Castle blossomed under rating tactics at longer distances late in his 2-year-old season, so whether he is sharp enough off a six-month layoff to beat good sprinters at seven furlongs, even with several sharp works over the track, is uncertain. But as the last major juvenile stakes winner to return this spring, Windsor Castle is certainly a candidate to regain his impact status in an already interesting 3-year-old brigade.

Alexander said that Wednesday's race, the Riva Ridge on June 9, and the Dwyer on July 8 "make up his three-race program at this point. Hopefully, we'll go on from there."

Wednesday's pick six sequence concludes with the eighth race, a classified allowance for fillies and mares at one mile on the Widener turf. The race is headed by Tippity Witch and Shopping for Love, who finished fourth and sixth, respectively, in Aqueduct's closing-day Beaugay Handicap. The mystery horse is Verruma, who was 5 for 7 in Brazil in 1999. She is unraced since then.

Should the race be rained off the grass, main-track-only entrant A.O.L. Hayes, whose turf experiment failed in the Beaugay, becomes the one to beat.

The ninth race is a second-level allowance at six furlongs for New York-bred fillies, and it features the seasonal debut of Spavinaw, winner of the Joseph A. Gimma here last October for the late Jeff Jacobs. She is now trained by Dick Mandella.

Richly Blended to get a breather

Richly Blended, who set the pace for the opening three-quarters of a mile before fading to 10th in Saturday's Preakness, was sent to owner Raymond Dweck's New Jersey farm for a brief freshening.

"He was fine," trainer Ben Perkins Jr. said Sunday morning. "We're going to take him back to Mr. Dweck's farm and let him play in a round pen for a while."

Perkins said Richly Blended, who won the Gotham and Withers at a mile earlier this year, will be cut back in distance to shorter races. His summer goal is the Grade 1 King's Bishop Stakes at seven furlongs on Aug. 25 at Saratoga.

Meanwhile, Perkins said Delaware Township was scratched from Saturday's Maryland Breeders' Cup Handicap because he spiked a fever. He would probably race next at Monmouth Park.

Unbridled Elaine pointed to Acorn

Unbridled Elaine, who made a successful 3-year-old debut in a second-level allowance race Friday at Churchill Downs, will be pointed to the Grade 1 Acorn at Belmont on June 8, trainer Dallas Stewart said Sunday.

A daughter of Unbridled's Song, Unbridled Elaine won a 6 1/2-furlong allowance race by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:15.48 after breaking slowly.

The victory was the first start for Unbridled Elaine since she won the Pocahontas Stakes at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3. In the interim, she had a chip surgically removed from her left hind ankle.

- additional reporting by David Grening