06/22/2006 11:00PM

Singspiel lures two big names


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The Singspiel, a $100,000 overnight stakes for 3-year-olds and upward, may be playing third fiddle behind the $1 million Queen's Plate and the $200,000 Highlander here Sunday. But the Singspiel has attracted some major players, including Pellegrino and Jambalaya, both of whom will be looking to use this 1 1/2-mile turf race as a springboard to the new Grade 2, $700,000 Northern Dancer Breeders' Cup Turf at the same distance here July 23.

Pellegrino, a 7-year-old owned by Gary Tanaka and trained by Roger Attfield, will be making his local debut in the Singspiel.

Attfield, who took over as Pellegrino's trainer in Florida last winter, sent out the horse to win Keeneland's Grade 3 Elkhorn at 1 1/2 miles on turf in his first appearance in more than four months. But in his next start, Pellegrino finished a rather flat fifth when shipped from Woodbine to Churchill Downs for the Grade 3 Louisville Handicap at 1 3/8 miles on grass May 29.

In the Singspiel, Pellegrino will be making his 25th start and will race with blinkers for the first time.

Shaun Bridgmohan, who has ridden Pellegrino in his last three outings, had told Attfield that his mount had problems keeping a straight course when he was in among horses in the W.L. McKnight at Calder last December.

"Then, he did the same thing the last time he ran," said Attfield. "At Keeneland he was okay, because he was clear of horses and had a good trip."

Pellegrino wore blinkers for his two workouts after his disappointing Churchill effort, and Attfield was pleased with the results.

"He worked well," said the trainer. "So, I thought we'd try something different."

John Velazquez, who will be in town to ride Sterwins for trainer Todd Pletcher in the Queen's Plate, has picked up the mount on Pellegrino, who won the Grade 1 Hollywood Turf Cup in 2004.

Jambalaya, a 4-year-old gelding trained by Catherine Day Phillips, makes his third start of the season after finishing third in the one-mile turf prep for the Connaught Cup and a close fourth in the 1 1/16-mile Connaught Cup itself.

"Those races were too short; he's not an ideal miler," said Jono Jones, Jambalaya's regular rider. "In my opinion, he's always wanted a mile and a quarter to a mile and a half."

Jambalaya won the restricted Breeders' Stakes at 1 1/2 miles on turf here last summer, and then ventured to Saratoga and scored in the Grade 3 Saranac at 1 3/16 miles on grass.

"He's feeling really good," said Jones. "He'll run a big race."

Charlie Barley: Seaside Retreat exits Derby

Going from the Kentucky Derby to the Charlie Barley obviously is an unusual program, but that's the path that will be taken by Seaside Retreat here Sunday.

The $100,000 Charlie Barley is a one-mile turf race for 3-year-olds, and Seaside Retreat, who is trained by Mark Casse, will be making his second start on grass.

Casse sent out Seaside Retreat to win by a deceptively easy half-length at seven furlongs on the E.P. Taylor turf course here last summer. His seven other starts have been on dirt, including a 10th-place finish in the Derby on May 6.

Another unusual Charlie Barley scenario involves Pyramid Park, who also is entered in the Queen's Plate.

"It gives us time to think it over some more and keep an eye on the weather," said Mike Doyle, who sent out Pyramid Park to win the Cup and Saucer at 1 1/16 miles of grass here last fall.