Teaks North Aims At Sword Dancer


Teaks North will be in search of his third Grade 1 victory of the year as well as a little respect when he takes on seven horses in Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Sword Dancer Invitational at Saratoga.

Teaks North has Grade 1 victories in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap in February and the United Nations last month at Monmouth Park. He also owns a victory in the Grade 3 Monmouth Stakes. Still, you hardly hear his name mentioned among the elite of the male turf division.

“I think people are starting to gain some respect for him,’’ trainer Justin Sallusto said. “As he continues to race and perform well against and beat the top horses he’ll obtain the respect he’s rightfully due.’’

Sallusto said he believes the United Nations was a career-best effort by Teaks North, “because the competition was the toughest,’’ he said. “Extending the distance from 1 1/8 miles to 1 3/8 miles in a shorter period of time I think showed me how much substance the horse has.’’

Teaks North, who will break from post 7 under Jose Lezcano, will be trying 1 1/2 miles for the first time in the Sword Dancer. As the 123-pound highweight, Teaks North will be spotting three to seven pounds to a field that includes 2010 Belmont Stakes winner Drosselmeyer, multiple Grade 1 stakes winner Winchester, and the up-and-coming Boisterous.

Drosselmeyer returns to the turf for the first time since his 2-year-old year when he finished third and second in his first two career starts. Drosselmeyer, trained by Bill Mott, will break from the hedge under Eddie Castro. Mott also sends out Al Khali, who finished third in last year’s Sword Dancer. Al Khali did win the Saranac Stakes here as a 3-year-old.

Mott said he would not run Al Khali if the turf course is too soft.

Trainer Christophe Clement entered both Winchester and Grassy. Winchester, who drew post 8, will definitely run while Grassy, who drew post 2, is only possible. Clement said Grassy would prefer soft ground. He finished seventh in last year’s Sword Dancer run over firm turf.

Boisterous comes out of a third-place finish in the Man o’ War. Bim Bam, second in the Grade 1 Manhattan, and Rahy’s Attorney, who won the Grade 3 Pan American at Gulfstream, complete the field.

by David Grening
from drf.com


Blind Luck worked six furlongs in 1:13.40 at Del Mar on Wednesday, but trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said he has to finalize plans about where the champion 3-year-old filly will start on Aug. 28.

The options are the $300,000 Personal Ensign Stakes for fillies and mares at Saratoga or the $1 million Pacific Classic against males at Del Mar. Both races are over 1 1/4 miles. Blind Luck has never run against males.

“There are pros and cons to either race,” Hollendorfer said. “This is not an easy race here.”

The top contenders for the Pacific Classic are Game On Dude and Twirling Candy, the second- and third-place finishers in the Hollywood Gold Cup last month. Acclamation, the winner of three graded stakes on turf this summer, is being considered for the Pacific Classic and the Del Mar Handicap on turf the same day.

Wednesday, Acclamation worked six furlongs on turf in 1:12.80. Bourbon Bay, the winner of the Cougar II Handicap over 1 1/2 miles on July 29, worked a half-mile in 48 seconds on turf.

Trainer Neil Drysdale said earlier this month that Bourbon Bay is a candidate for the Pacific Classic or Del Mar Handicap.

by Steve Andersen
from drf.com



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