05/13/2013 2:40PM

Belmont Park: Teaks North needs to control his speed in Good Reward Stakes

Tom Keyser
Teaks North, with John Velazquez up, wins the Sunshine Millions Turf in January. Velazquez will be back aboard Wednesday in the Good Reward Stakes.

ELMONT, N.Y. – If the rain stays away long enough to allow turf racing to return to Belmont Park, then Wednesday’s featured $90,000 Good Reward Stakes shapes up as an intriguing race.

Mother Nature’s wrath allowed only two of last week’s scheduled 21 turf races to be run on the grass. But pleasant weather returned Sunday and dry conditions were expected to prevail through at least midday Wednesday.

Teaks North, a multiple Grade 1-winning 6-year-olds looks to bounce back from a sixth-place finish in the Grade 2 Pan American in the Good Reward, scheduled for 1 1/4 miles over the inner turf. In the Pan American, Teaks North set the early pace but was done in by strong early fractions and some pressure and ended up sixth behind Twilight Eclipse, who set a world record for 1 1/2 miles.

“To go a mile and a half you really have to slow down the pace,” trainer Michelle Nevin said. “He was running a little too free, and that didn’t help.”

Nevin said that Teaks North “hasn’t missed a beat” coming up to this race, which may or may not serve as a prep for the Grade 1 Manhattan here June 8.

Noting that Teaks North has run well on less-than-firm ground, she said forecasted showers for Wednesday afternoon “wouldn’t upset us.”

John Velazquez, aboard for his victory in the Sunshine Millions Turf in January, will be back aboard Teaks North on Wednesday.

Teaks North could face some pace pressure from Joan’s Choice, if that gelding is able to transfer the speed he has shown on dirt to the turf.

In that event, horses like Sky Blazer, Hyper, or Reflecting would benefit.

Sky Blazer, trained by Barclay Tagg, was third in the Grade 2 Elkhorn at Keeneland, but have may have been compromised by a pedestrian pace. Sky Blazer is 2 for 5 at Belmont, with one of those wins coming over Point of Entry in a 1 1/4-mile allowance race. Point of Entry is now a multiple Grade 1 winner trained by Shug McGaughey.

Speaking of McGaughey, he sends out Reflecting in this spot. Reflecting finished fifth in the Elkhorn, but had won two allowance races at Gulfstream beforehand.

Hyper won a third-level allowance over Gulfstream turf before finishing third in the Dave Stakes here April 14.

Quick Casablanca, a Chilean-bred, makes his North American debut for trainer Christophe Clement. He gets Lasix for the first time and shows a couple of nice works over the Belmont Park turf. Joel Rosario rides.

Change of Command, based in Maryland, has a second and a third in two previous tries over the Belmont turf. He comes off an allowance win at Pimlico for trainer Michael Trombetta.