11/14/2007 12:00AM

Pellegrino shaky despite drop

EmailETOBICOKE, Ontario - Pellegrino, winner of the Grade 1 Hollywood Turf Cup back in 2004, is the "name" horse in Friday's Woodbine feature, a 1 1/2-mile allowance on the Polytrack that is the prep for the Valedictory Stakes on closing day, Dec. 9.

But Pellegrino hasn't been the easiest horse to figure out over the last few years and remains an unknown quantity despite facing easier company on Friday.

"Pellegrino is Pellegrino" said trainer Roger Attfield, acknowledging that he is not sure what to expect from his horse on any given day. "He's kicking around here. He's doing fine, and it's hard to find the right spot for him right now anyway."

An 8-year-old owned by Gary Tanaka, Pellegrino has made all eight of his starts on turf this year, but he won the 1 1/4-mile Chief Bearhart when it was taken off the grass and run on the synthetic surface here last fall.

"He really likes the Polytrack when it's wet and it's got a good grip to it," Attfield said.

Although Pellegrino finished up the track in last year's 1 3/4-mile Valedictory, Attfield is inclined to dismiss that effort.

"That was a horrible track then," he said. "It was separating out."

Pellegrino, the 120-pound highweight in Friday's $87,900 feature, will be ridden by Jono Jones.

Gator King, one of four 3-year-olds in the field of 10, will run coupled with Above Spirit. The entry is the 2-1 morning-line favorite.

Owned by Stronach Stable and trained by Brian Lynch, Gator King will be looking for his third straight victory. He won his maiden at 1 1/4 miles and a second-level optional claimer at 1 1/8 miles on the turf.

Gator King will be trying 1 1/2 miles for the first time, but Lynch doesn't think he will have any trouble with the distance.

"I think he's bred up and down for it," said Lynch, noting that Gator King is by El Prado out of a Kingmambo mare.

Lynch does not intend to use Friday's race as a stepping-stone to the Valedictory for Gator King.

"It's back a little quick," said Lynch, who prefers to give his horses more time between starts.

Todd Kabel, who rode Gator King to his last victory, will ride him again Friday.

Friday's card also includes a first-level allowance race headed by Kid Sparkle, who finished second to the talented Shilla in the recent Fanfreluche Stakes. Kid Sparkle will face 10 other 2-year-old fillies going six furlongs.