Dogwood Stable's Windsor Castle, upset winner of the Hal's Hope (gr. III) for trainer Frank Alexander, could show that win was no fluke after the way he worked on Saturday, going five furlongs in :59 2/5 handily in preparation for the $500,000 Donn Handicap (gr. I) at 1 1/18 miles at Gulfstream Park Feb. 22. Four-year-old Windsor Castle worked the fastest of 44 horses at the distance. Cott Campbell, president of Dogwood Stable, was on hand to see his runner work and was delighted with the drill. "It was great," he said. "We were looking for 1:01 and he went in :59 and change and he looked like he was going easy. This horse has had his share of problems in the past but it looks like he's finally getting it right and it sure is a nice time to be peaking for the Donn."Windsor Castle, the winner of the Remsen Stakes (gr. II) as a 2-year-old in 2001, was purchased by Dogwood after that race but developed a lung infection shortly thereafter and it kept him out of the spring Classics. Later that summer he suffered a sprained back and was sidelined for another period of time.The son of Lord Carson showed spots of life last spring when he was third in Gulfstream's Crème Freche Handicap (gr. III), then second in the Excelsior Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III). However, he finally began to live up to his early promise last fall.He was an impressive winner of an allowance race at Saratoga in September, then was a fast-closing third in the 1 1/8 miles Meadowlands Cup Handicap (gr. II) in October. He was a fast-closing second in the 1 1/8 mile Stuyvesant Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct on Nov. 5 before finishing sixth in the Cigar Mile (gr. I) at Aqueduct in his 2002 finale on Nov. 30.In his 2003 debut on Jan. 11, Windsor Castle charged from seventh place to win the 1 1/16-mile Hal's Hope by a 1 1/2 length going away.
"I almost didn't run him in the Hal's Hope," Alexander said. "He had popped a quarter crack and lost a few days to training. I'm glad he did because the race set up nicely for him with all the speed there was and he was able to do his thing. He's been training well since that race and I'm very happy with the way he worked this morning."