06/17/2011 3:45PM

Monmouth: Teaks North, Sleepless Knight candidates for United Nations

Bill Denver/Equiphotos
Teaks North, 3 for 3 on Monmouth Park's turf course, will be pointed to the United Nations Stakes.

OCEANPORT, N.J. – Teaks North and Sleepless Knight, the one-two finishers in the Grade 3 Monmouth Stakes last weekend, could both be heading for the meet’s top turf event: the Grade 1 United Nations on July 2.

Teaks North would be bidding for a second Grade 1 win of the season, having taken the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap.

Teaks North is now 3 for 3 on the course, following his three-quarter length win in the Monmouth. Trainer Jason Sallusto said the 4-year-old gelding came out of the race in good shape and that he’s excited by the Teaks North’s upside potential.

“I don’t think I’ve found the bottom of him yet,” Sallusto said.

Distance is a consideration. The Monmouth, 1 1/8 miles, is as far as Teaks North has run. The U.N. is 1 3/8 miles.

“He shows me in the morning he can run all day,” Sallusto said. “I think he’s going to be an even better horse as he gets older. He’s maturing. He’s learning how to run and to relax. He’s got a big heart. You put him in the game and he’s going to try.”

Sleepless Knight, winner of the Lamplighter Stakes here in 2009, rallied on the far outside to get the place spot in the Monmouth.

It was the kind of late run that might earn the 5-year-old his first crack at a Grade 1 stakes.

“He came out of the race good,” said trainer Kelly Breen. “We’ll have to see how tough the United Nations comes up. I don’t know if he belongs, but he ran a pretty good race. We’ll see what the competition is. It’s here at our home track, so maybe we’ll take a shot. If he’s training really good, that’s an option.”

Salary Drive earns shot at Boiling Springs

Having run well in the prep race, Salary Drive is headed for the Grade 3 Boiling Springs Stakes at Monmouth Park on June 25.

The Boiling Springs is 1 1/16 miles on the turf for 3-year-old fillies. She tuned up with a second-place finish in the Little Silver Stakes here on May 29.

“I thought it was a good race,” trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. said. “I’ve been saying since last year that she gets better and better with each race. I still see an improvement coming on.”

Salary Drive, 2-3-2 in 8 starts, will be making her second start in a graded race. She ran third behind R Heat Lightning in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks on April 2.

Salary Drive is a homebred for long-time Monmouth owner Joel Kligman.

“He has been a main player at Monmouth Park for a number of years,” Plesa said. “He likes to see his horses run here. It’s the place we should be.”

Salary Drive debuted here last summer, getting her maiden win in the second try.

Her first grass experience came this year. Salary Drive ha 2 seconds and a third in 3 turf races.

“She’s pretty versatile,” Plesa said. “I couldn’t tell you where she’s better, turf or dirt. She can run on both surfaces.”

The Boiling Springs is a sixteenth of a mile longer than the Little Silver, a positive for Plesa.

“I think the farther the better,” he said. “It should be no problem for her.”

Stakes coordinator Dan Dufford also expects Janicellaine, My Sunshine Gal, Oak Marsh, and Pontenuovo for the Boiling Springs.

◗ Jockey Paco Lopez is serving five days to clean up suspension time from 2010. He will be eligible to return on June 26.

◗ Trainer Skip Einhorn got off the duck, scoring his first win of the season when Precious Paula captured the third race Friday. He had been 0 for 47 in 2011 prior to the victory.