The 7-1 shot won for the fourth time in as many tries on the Monmouth turf course while posting his second grade I win of the year for trainer Justin Sallusto and owner Julia Boutelle. Teaks North won the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (gr. IT) in February.
Eddie Castro drove the stalking Teaks North past favored Stacelita, a three-time group I-winning mare in Europe, in the stretch and opened up a big advantage. Teaks North held on well as the French-raced Chinchon, winner of last year's United Nations, made a powerful late bid before coming up a half-length short. Stacelita held on for third, with Bourbon Bay rallying belatedly for fourth.
Teaks North won the Monmouth Stakes (gr. IIIT) June 12 as a tuneup. Making his first start at the United Nations distance of 1 3/8 miles, he came home in a time of 2:13.20 on firm going. The winner earned an automatic berth in the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) Nov.5 at Churchill Downs.
Brylynn Farms bred Teaks North in Florida. The 4-year-old gelding is by Northern Afleet out of Teaksberry Road, by High Honors.
Pulsion set a moderate pace while leading Sleepless Knight by about two lengths through quarter-mile splits of :23.63, :48.58, and 1:14.88. Teaks North, tucked in along the inside. Stacelita bid on the outside from seventh rounding the final turn for Joe Bravo and got the lead in the stretch as Pulsion and Sleepless Knight gave way.
Stacelita, making her second start of the year, gained a short advantage in the stretch as Teaks North angled out between horses for the drive. Teaks North drew within a half-length of the new leader at the eighth pole, put his head in front in deep stretch and edged away.
“It unfolded exactly as I had hoped,” said Sallusto. “He has a tremendous kick for the last quarter of a mile and you saw that today.”
Chinchon, in the meantime, bid four wide for Garrett Gomez after saving ground to the quarter pole. He finished full of run while setting for second. Like Stacelita, Chinchon also was making his second start of the season.
Teaks North paid $16, $6.40, and $4. Chinchon completed the $75.60 exacta and paid $4 and $3. The French mare Stacelita paid $3 to show.
“We had a nice trip,” said Castro. “He was comfortable the whole way around. When the horses from the back were starting to move, we were able to slip out and go. He really kicked it in through the stretch. I was very confident in him throughout the race.”
Sallusto said Teaks North would point to the Breeders' Cup Turf later this year.
Teaks North earned $450,000 for his seventh lifetime win in 17 starts. He has banked $976,964.
Multiple grade II winner Bourbon Bay, shipping to New Jersey from Southern California, finished fourth, 2 1/4 lengths behind the winner. General Perfect was fifth with Eldaafer and Bold Hawk dead-heating for sixth. The entry of Pulsion and Belle Watling were next, and Sleepless Knight trailed.