11/11/2008 12:00AM

Pellegrino seeks prep repeat


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The classy but erratic Pellegrino was victorious in last year's prep for the Valedictory Stakes, and he will try to win the 1 1/2-mile allowance again Thursday at Woodbine.

Pellegrino is winless in eight starts since last year's triumph. He got the winter off after finishing fifth as the favorite in the 1 3/4-mile Valedictory in December and was ineffective in a two-race stint at Keeneland in April when he came off the sidelines.

Pellegrino tried to win the Grade 3 Singspiel Stakes for the second year in a row here June 22, but to no avail. He wound up second while competing with a $62,500 tag in a Sept. 6 optional claimer, but wasn't an impact player in each of his two most recent outings, both at the $80,000 optional-claiming classification.

Trainer Roger Attfield will give Jono Jones a leg up on the 9-year-old Pellegrino, who captured the Grade 1 Hollywood Turf Cup in 2004 and the 2006 Elkhorn Stakes at Keeneland.

Cool Ventura, a talented 3-year-old from Alberta, appears to have sufficient stamina for the task at hand. He closed for third in the 1 3/8-mile Canadian Derby at Northlands in August and then crushed restricted company in the Beaufort Stakes in September.

Cool Ventura was a commendable second in his local debut in an optional claimer that was won by Stunning Stag, who came back to finish a surprising second in the Grade 2 Autumn Stakes.

Safety Zone is a turf specialist who possesses a decent record over synthetic surfaces. He is coming off a career-best performance, a blowout score in a 1 1/4-mile optional claimer on the grass.

Both parts of the Stronach Stable entry, Above Spirit and Silver Whistle, are coming off a supbar showing.

Above Spirit ran fourth in last year's Valedictory, after ending up second in the prep. He is winless in four appearances this year. Trainer Sean Smullen is taking the blinkers off him.

Silver Whistle has struggled since taking his season opener in a third-level allowance on the grass at Gulfstream.