09/22/2008 11:00PM

Top three choices all come with a story


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Thursday's Woodbine feature, a third-level allowance with a claiming option, contains a Grade 1 winner, a Canadian classic winner, and a horse who placed in the Queen's Plate among its seven entrants.

Pellegrino, an erratic 9-year-old trained by Roger Attfield, captured the Grade 1 Hollywood Turf Cup in 2004. He has banked $664,116, mostly for owner Gary Tanaka.

Pellegrino is winless in five starts this year, but the Brazilian-bred is coming off a respectable second-place finish in a $62,500 optional claimer, when competing with a claiming price for the first time in his career. He runs with a $77,500 tag on Thursday, with leading rider Jim McAleney aboard.

Marchfield competed in all three legs of the 2007 Canadian Triple Crown, finishing sixth in the Queen's Plate, fifth in the Prince of Wales Stakes, and first in the Breeders' Stakes on turf.

Marchfield was bottled up in traffic in the stretch when he came off the sidelines in April at Keeneland, and he won a second-level allowance in his next appearance at Churchill. After finishing far up the course in the Grade 3 Singspiel Stakes here June 22, he was beaten a nose in the Aug. 10 With Approval Stakes, a 1 1/8-mile stakes that was taken off the grass and run on the Polytrack.

Marchfield has worked twice since he was a vet scratch Sept. 4, and usually acquits himself quite well following a short layoff. Patrick Husbands has the mount on the Mark Casse-trained son of A.P. Indy.

Malakoff loomed boldly onto the Queen's Plate scene in 2006 when he romped in the Grade 3 Marine Stakes, but he finished third in the Plate after missing some training because of illness. He got home first in his next start in the Prince of Wales at Fort Erie, but was placed fifth by disqualification.

Malakoff had been idle for nearly two years when he wound up third in a second-level allowance June 21, and he cleared that condition in a $62,500 optional claimer a month ago. Jono Jones rides him for trainer Brian Lynch, a combination that is 8 for 19 at the meeting.

Sahara Heat, an expensive A.P. Indy colt, is winless since he won the 2007 Marine, and is making his first start for Casse.

Executive Choice, a stakes winner in Ontario-sired company, is in solid form and could lead out of the gate for much of the way.