Updated on 07/07/2011 3:36PM

Monmouth Park: Teaks North targets Sword Dancer at Saratoga

Bill Denver/Equiphotos
The United Nations was the first time Teaks North ran beyond 1 1/8 miles.

OCEANPORT, N.J. – Teaks North came out of his United Nations Stakes victory in fine shape and will now be pointed to the Sword Dancer at Saratoga on Aug. 13.

“He could have run the next day,” trainer Justin Sallusto said of his emerging turf star. “He only ran about a quarter of mile. He was strong galloping out and pulling up. He’s a very fresh horse.”

The 4-year-old Teaks North got a ground-saving trip from jockey Eddie Castro and responded with a powerful stretch run for his second straight stakes win at Monmouth Park, and second Grade 1 triumph of the season.

The U.N., at a 1 3/8 miles, was the first time Teaks North had run beyond 1 1/8 miles. The win over a strong international field at a distance of ground opened up a number of options, most prominently the Breeders’ Cup.

The U.N. was a Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In challenge stakes, giving Teaks North an automatic berth in the BC Turf in November at Churchill Downs.

Following the Sword Dancer, Teaks North might have another race before heading to Kentucky.

Sallusto said he has had offers to race the horse overseas late in the year, including an invitation to the Japan Cup, but prefers to remain closer to home.

“That would be a little too much,” Sallusto said of a foreign trip. “It’s very nice to be asked.”

After the Breeders’ Cup, Teaks North will likely get a breather to prepare for a title defense in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap.

If all goes well, then it will be a return to Monmouth, where Teaks North is 4 for 4 over the course.

Breen has multiple options for Haskell

Trainer Kelly Breen is still sorting out his 3-year-olds with the big race of the meet approaching: the Grade 1, $1 million Haskell Invitational on July 31.

Owners George and Lori Hall and Breen have a number of options, led by Belmont Stakes winner Ruler On Ice and Pants On Fire, who captured the Louisiana Derby and Monmouth’s Pegasus Stakes.

They send out Nacho Saint and Galaxy Kat Saturday in the Long Branch Stakes, the Haskell prep. Should either one win, they would also receive a Haskell invitation.

“We’re still not even sure who’s running where,” Breen said. “We’re pointing toward that weekend but we also have to look at the West Virginia Derby and the Jim Dandy. And we’ll see how these horses run this Saturday.”

Of more immediate concern was finding a replacement rider for Rosie Napravnik aboard Pants On Fire. Napravnik sustained a broken wrist in a spill at Delaware Park on Wednesday and will be sidelined indefinitely.

“George Hall asked me yesterday who are thinking of for a rider and I said it was too early to tell,” Breen said. “It’s a matter of trying to figure out who’s the right fit for the horse, who’s the hot rider. We’ll have a little pow-wow in terms of what we’re going to do.”

Pletcher unlikely to have a Haskell horse

It does not appear that Todd Pletcher will have a Haskell horse his year.

The trainer has been in the last five runnings, winning with Any Given Saturday in 2007 and with Bluegrass Cat in 2006.

“Right now, it’s looking pretty doubtful,” Pletcher said. “Stay Thirsty is going to the Jim Dandy. Assuming that stays on course, we probably won’t have a starter. We like to participate every year, but it’s not looking like it will happen.”