10/17/2014 6:07PM

Windsor Castle a perennial force in West Virginia


West Virginia has become known in recent years as a hotbed for sustained runs of dominance.

Rapid Redux earned a Special Eclipse Award for his record-setting 22-race winning streak, with a significant portion of those victories coming at Mountaineer and Charles Town. Meanwhile, local hero Russell Road has been a force on the West Virginia stakes circuit for seven years, claiming just about every statebred award laid before him.

On the breeding side, Windsor Castle has established himself as a perennial contender to be West Virginia’s leading sire over the past six years, and his foals have become statebred stalwarts in their own right.

The 16-year-old son of Lord Carson resides at James Casey’s Taylor Mountain Farm in Charles Town, W.Va., where he stands for an advertised fee of $3,000.

“He’s been remarkable,” Casey said. “He gets horses that can go 4 1/2 furlongs, and they can go a mile and an eighth. His horses can run, and they’ve been really dominant. He’s had another big year this year.”

Windsor Castle has sired eight crops of racing age since entering stud in 2004, with 114 winners from 149 foals to start and progeny earnings of $7,498,548 through last Monday.

“Usually, they’re pretty nice looking, not real big, average sized, but they can run,” Casey said of the typical Windsor Castle foal.

Windsor Castle has been among the top three West Virginia sires by progeny earnings for the past four years and held the top spot among those with West Virginia-sired foals at the racetrack for the past two seasons. The stallion is in position to add another year to both of those streaks in 2014, trailing only Limehouse, whose first West Virginia-sired foals arrived this spring.

The achievements of Windsor Castle have been duly recognized by the West Virginia Thoroughbred Breeders Association, which has named him Stallion of the Year at every awards dinner since 2009. He shared the title with the late Bop during that first year.

Leading the way among Windsor Castle’s runners is 19-time stakes winner Down Town Allen, whom Casey owns, trains, and bred. The 7-year-old mare has been the standard-bearer for her sire and her division of West Virginia-breds since her 2-year-old season in 2009, earning the state’s juvenile filly championship that season.

She followed up in 2010 by earning West Virginia’s champion 3-year-old filly honors, and then, after a year without an award, Down Town Allen won back-to-back older female titles in 2012 and 2013. The mare has won 23 of 39 lifetime starts for earnings of $903,387. She is entered in the West Virginia Jefferson Security Bank Cavada Breeders’ Classic Stakes on the Oct. 18 West Virginia Breeders’ Classics card.

Like many prominent statebreds, Down Town Allen has been a repeat winner of various statebred stakes races, including four renewals each of the 4 1/2-furlong Fancy Buckles Stakes and the seven-furlong Sadie Hawkins Stakes, both at Charles Town. She also found the winner’s circle in two editions of the seven-furlong Original Gold Stakes at Charles Town and stretched out to 1 1/8 miles to win the 2012 My Sister Pearl Stakes at the same track.

“She doesn’t show it in the mornings,” Casey said. “She doesn’t work very good, but at night, she can win on the lead or coming from behind. Usually, she lays close, somebody challenges her, and she puts them away and wins. That’s what she’s been doing.”

Windsor Castle accounted for three statebred award winners during the 2012 season. In addition to Down Town Allen, the sire was represented by co-champion 2-year-old filly Queen’o’daball and top sprinter Henry the Lover. A year later, Windsor Castle added another champion sprinter, Greenway Court, to his résumé as a sire.

Bred in Kentucky by Windwoods Farm, Windsor Castle was a $42,000 purchase at the 1999 Keeneland September yearling sale, then was pinhooked at the 2000 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. March select sale of 2-year-olds in training, going to Frank Alexander for $45,000.

Alexander campaigned Windsor Castle during his 2-year-old season, which included a victory in the Grade 2 Remsen Stakes and runner-up finishes in the Grade 3 Nashua and Cowdin stakes. Dogwood Stable purchased a majority interest in the colt prior to his sophomore year, with Alexander remaining as the trainer for the rest of his five-season racing career.

Windsor Castle was retired at age 6 with six wins in 29 career starts for earnings of $591,715. In addition to his Remsen victory, the horse added wins in the Grade 3 Hal’s Hope and William Donald Schaefer handicaps and placed in a total of eight graded stakes.

“I’ve been lucky,” Casey said. “When I bought him, I wasn’t that high on him, but he’s certainly done very well.”

Windsor Castle is out of the stakes-winning It’s Freezing mare Frigidette, who is the dam of eight winners from 13 foals to race. He is a half-brother to Grade 3-placed Tito’s Beau and to stakes winner North Coast Ltd.