06/12/2011 7:09PM

Monmouth Stakes speed duel sets up Teaks North

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Bill Denver/Equiphotos
Teaks North improves to 3 for 3 on Monmouth Park's turf course by taking the Grade 3 Monmouth.

OCEANPORT, N.J. - The Grade 3, $250,000 Monmouth Stakes on Sunday afternoon set up perfectly for Teaks North.

You could not have diagrammed the trip any better on a coaches’ chalkboard.

Get Stormy and Get Serious, two quality speed horses, hooked up as expected and dueled each other into submission.

Just as he did in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap, Teaks North ($11.60) gladly picked up the pieces.

A 4-year-old gelding, Teaks North came rolling through the lane to earn his second win of the season and remain unbeaten, 3 for 3, on the Monmouth course.

Eddie Castro was aboard for trainer Justin Sallusto, who was twice blessed on the same day. The Monmouth Stakes win fell on his 46th wedding anniversary.
“I thought we had an excellent chance,” Sallusto said. “I thought there were speeds to compromise each other and Eddie rode a fabulous race.”

As expected, Get Stormy broke sharply. He was in fine form coming in, having won consecutive Grade 1’s: the Makers Mark at Keeneland and the Turf Classic at Churchill Downs.

Trainer Tom Bush opted for this spot instead of the Grade 1 Manhattan on the Belmont Stakes undercard. The bettors clearly approved of the move as Get Stormy was the 4-5 favorite.

He quickly had company as Get Serious, ridden hard early by Pablo Fragoso, quickly picked up the chase from the rail.

And the two Gets went at it. Get Serious, the defending Monmouth Stakes champion and a three-time Grade 3 winner here last summer, determinedly dug in along the rail with Get Stormy constantly there to his outside.

All the while, Teaks North was beautifully positioned in third, right behind the dueling leaders.

Teaks North collared Get Stormy a sixteenth from the finish and pulled clear for a three-quarters off-a- length victory.

“We had two speed horses in front of us and we were in perfect position,” Castro said. “I thought Get Stormy was going to be really tough but luckily my horse had a really good kick in the stretch.”

Sleepless Knight, hailing from team of trainer Kelly Breen and owners George and Lori Hall, who won the Belmont Stakes on Saturday with Ruler On Ice, came on to get second.

Get Stormy held on for third, a neck better than Get Serious.

The time was 1:48.56 for the 1 1/8 miles on the course rated good.

The Monmouth Stakes is the prep for the meet’s top turf event, the Grade 1 United Nations on July 2. Sallusto said the UN is now a possible target for Teaks North.

General Perfect repeats in McSorley

 General Perfect ($19.20) scored a repeat win the $65,000 for John McSorley Stakes for turf sprinters.

The running styles could not have been more different from year to year.

General Perfect won the 2010 edition going gate to wire with Pablo Fragoso aboard. This time, the 8-year-old General Perfect rallied from dead last with Joe Bravo up.

General Perfect stormed up the inside to beat Southern Danger by 1 1/2 lengths with Awakino Cat third.

The time was 1:02.39 for the 5 1/2 furlongs.

Trained by Glenn Thompson, General Perfect got his 10th career win, and sixth over the Monmouth course.