To look at Pete Pellegrino one would get an impression that he looks more like a pirate of olden days  than a horse trainer with his head shaved bald and sporting two ear-rings. But make no mistake about it, Pellegrino is not only a horse trainer but an outstanding one at that.


Late last year Pellegrino sauntered into Monticello Raceway and made many trainers, owners , and bettors alike,  open their eyes with the prowess of his powerful stable. In the short time he was here he  gave visions of things to come. Although he only started 12 horses  he  won eight races in doing so.


“I just raced a few at Monticello last fall before I moved my stable to  back Pompano Park for the winter racing season,” Pellegrino recalled.  “I wanted to return to Pompano (Park) because my horses raced well there and I was the leading trainer. Before I came north this year I was again atop the training standings.


“After I left there (Pompano Park) in the early spring  I moved my base of operation back north and settled in at Golden Horseshoe Training Center in Bullville(NY). I have about 40 horses ,many of different caliber so being  there in Orange County  gives me access to  tracks like Yonkers, the Meadowlands, Monticello ,Pocono and Freehold where I could race all of  my horses according to their abilities. 


“I’ve been racing part of my stable at Monticello this year and have had tremendous success. I brought a lot of old veterans here and they fit certain classes and  have raced extremely well.  But Monticello can’t accommodate most of my better class horses so I  race at them at the  Meadowlands, Yonkers  and sometimes  Pocono.”


Perhaps Pellegrino’s assessment of his stock racing well at Monticello was an understatement.


On  the Mighty M’s  13 race card of Tuesday, July 31 Pellegrino sent out  four horses and came away with four victories. Greg Merton drove three and Mike Merton one.


Greg won for the fourth consecutive time with Court Jester in a $7500 claimer stopping the clock in an eye-opening 1:54.3. Greg also guided veteran pacer Art’s Day, with a $10,000 claiming tag, to his seventh consecutive victory in a seasonal best of 1:55 while Greg’s other triumph for Pellegrino came behind Art Glass, in a $12,500 claiming pace,  also in a time of 1:55.. And  Greg’s brother Mike made  Pellegrino four- for- four when scored with Wilson Jay N in 1:57.3 in a $,4000 claimer.


At the current Mighty M  meeting Pellegrino has  won an unbelievable  70 races  in 149 strips to post.


“I said earlier that my horses fit well at Monticello and they do,” Pellegrino reiterated. “The ones I race here are  old class horses that I’m lucky enough to patch up and get some good mileage out of them while they are race-horse sound.”


And although Pellegrino has nearly half the amount of starts as leading trainer Gary Messenger  still he’s challenging for top honors and trails Messenger by just a few victories.