01/19/2013 5:29PM

Gulfstream Park: Teaks North gets first win for Dutrow's deputy in Sunshine Millions Turf

Barbara D. Livingston
Teaks North, the first starter for Michelle Nevin, former assistant to suspended trainer Richard Dutrow Jr., scores a front-running upset under John Velazquez in the Sunshine Millions Turf.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – After what she described as a “rough week,” Michelle Nevin finally was able to smile on Saturday at Gulfstream Park when she sent out Teaks North for a front-running, upset victory in the $150,000 Sunshine Millions Turf.

Nevin was a long-time assistant to Richard Dutrow Jr., who was suspended on Thursday for 10 years by New York state racing officials. Dutrow was the trainer of Teaks North at the beginning of the week, but with his suspension looming, Nevin passed her trainer’s test in Florida the middle of the week and then took over the training of the 6-year-old gelding. Teaks North was her first starter.

“It’s been a rough week, but this is a great reward to get,” Nevin said.

Teaks North ($19.80) benefited from an absence of pace and led the field from start to finish over a yielding course in the 1 1/8-mile race. Jockey John Velazquez was able to coax Teaks North through fractions of 25.68 seconds, 52.09, 1:16.76, and 1:40.83 en route to a final time of 1:52.89. With a final three furlongs in 36.13 seconds, closers had no shot of catching him.

Teaks North won by 2 1/2 lengths over 1-2 favorite Doubles Partner, with Shkspeare Shaliyah 2 1/4 lengths farther back in third.

“I’m just overwhelmed,” Nevin said in the winner’s circle. “I’m so happy. I love this horse. It was a long road coming back.”

Teaks North was off for nearly 11 months before fading in the El Prado at Gulfstream on Dec. 22.

“With these older horses, it’s tough to bring them back fit,” Nevin said. “He was tighter today. He got the cobwebs out.”

Teaks North, owned by Resolute Group Stables, has now won 8 of  23 starts. An earner of more than $1 million, his biggest victory came in the 2011 United Nations Handicap when trained by Justin Sallusto.