Toronto, Ontario – Pellegrino, a seven-year-old son of Nugget Point, gave Hall of Fame conditioner Roger Attfield his 300th stakes victory, besting nine rivals in the October 28th $100,000 Chief Bearhart Stakes at Woodbine.
Inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1999, Attfield, who has saddled seven Queen’s Plate winners, three of which were Triple Crown champions, won his first race as a trainer in Canada in 1972.
The native of Newbury, England, who has a degree in agriculture, was an accomplished show-jumping rider and amateur steeplechase jockey before immigrating to Canada in 1970.
“It’s amazing,” said Attfield, of the milestone win. “Thank God for all the good horses and all the good owners that I’ve had along the years. And all the good help that I’ve had. We’ve got to start working towards the next hundred. I’m glad I did it at Woodbine.”
Confidently handled by Jim McAleney, Pellegrino, owned by Gary Tanaka, tracked in fifth behind early leader Pleasant Hall through opening fractions of :24.22 and :49.10 in the Chief Bearhart, a race originally slated for 1 1/4-miles on the turf, but instead contested at 1 1/4-miles on the Polytrack.
After collaring the leaders in early stretch, Pellegrino fought off the challenges of a pair of longshots, besting runner-up Colorful Judgement by a neck, while Get Down Wolfie was a further length back in third. Mutuel favourite Seaside Retreat finished sixth.
The final time was 2:06.44, as the Brazilian-bred took his second win of 2006. The dark bay kicked off the year with a three-quarter length triumph at Keeneland in the Grade 3 turf Elkhorn.
Pellegrino came into the race, named for Sam-Son Farm’s 1997 Breeders’ Cup Turf winner, off a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Durham Cup, a 1 1/8-mile Polytrack event contested on October 14 at the Toronto oval.
“In his last race, I thought it was one of his more confident races,” said McAleney, of the lifetime winner of seven races from 36 starts. “And it was going to be a race he could move forward off of. The whole trip, I was confident. I was comfortable in the position we had. He acted all day today like he was going to be full of run.
“What a thrill and a treat just to be a part of it (Attfield’s 300th stakes win). Roger’s a class act and to get to take part in a situation like this is just wonderful.”
Pellegrino paid $23.30, $13.10 and $8.50, combining with Colorful Judgement ($37.50, $21.80) for an $843.70 exactor. Get Down Wolfie ($13.80 to show) completed a triactor worth $8,354.30.