08/19/2011 2:36PM

Old-timer Joey P. regains zip heading into Colts Neck

Bill Denver / EQUI-PHOTOS
Joey P., still competitive at age 9, brings sharp form into Sunday's Colts Neck Handicap.

OCEANPORT, N.J. – Just when it looked like Joey P.’s best days were behind him, the New Jersey-bred gelding showed there was still spring in those 9-year-old legs.

Joey P. bounced back from a pair of disappointing efforts with a solid second in a second-level allowance against open company, and now heads into the $65,000 Colts Neck Handicap, the six furlong state=bred feature on Sunday at Monmouth Park.

Time is running out for the popular winner of more than $1 million. Trainer Ben Perkins Jr. expects this will be Joey P.’s final season, making this one of the last starts for John Petrini’s homebred.

“He’s still competitive and his soundness is good,” Perkins said. “This will mostly likely be his last year. We’re not going to drop him down any lower. Mr. Petrini doesn’t want to lose him. We’ve started to look into some of the post-racing options.”

Joey P. faces seven rivals in the Colts Neck, including Dabnabit, winner of the John J. Reilly Handicap for New Jersey-breds back in May.

Gunfighter is always a factor in these statebred stakes, whether going long or short. He was second in the six-furlong Reilly before stretching out to a mile and 70 yards to capture the Bernie Dowd Handicap.

Flat Out tunes up for Woodward

Flat Out has thrived this summer at Monmouth, even though he has never run here.

He came east when trainer Scooter Dickey set up shop here when the Churchill Downs meet ended.

Flat Out has had three workouts at Monmouth, all bullet drills. The latest was a blazing five-furlong move in 57.20 seconds on Thursday.

“He worked very good,” Dickey said. “There was an exciting moment out there with a loose horse but everything was safe. He galloped out three quarters in 1:09 and 4. We’re very happy with the work, and the way he cooled out good. He seems very happy here at Monmouth. He’s got all his ailments behind him and is doing real good.”

“Real good” is a bit of an understatement. Since coming east, Flat Out has run twice in New York, winning the Grade 2 Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park by 6 1/2 lengths in a 13-1 upset.

Most recently, Flat Out was a rallying second in the Grade 1 Whitney Invitational at Saratoga, finishing three lengths behind Tizway.

A rematch is likely to come in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont on Oct. 1, Tizway’s next scheduled start.

In the interim, Dickey is pointing Flat Out toward Saratoga’s Woodward Stakes on Sept. 3.

“We’re looking forward to meeting Tizway again some time,” Dickey said. “I imagine he’s pointed for the same things we are. The Jockey Club Gold Cup will probably be one of the races on our schedule, too.”

Dickey plans to stay at Monmouth until mid-October before returning to Kentucky for the big one, the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs.

Teaks North sustains minor injury in Sword Dancer

Trainer Justin Sallusto said United Nations winner Teaks North escaped serious injury when a horse clipped him from behind in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga on Aug. 13.

“You can actually see the horse’s footprint in his haunches,” Sallusto said. “It scraped him all the way down to the top of his hocks. Fortunately, it stopped there. It could have gone down and severed the tendons.”

Even with the mishap, and a bumpy trip, Teaks North still managed to finish fourth, beaten only 3 3/4 lengths by Winchester.

Sallusto believed he had the horse to beat in the Sword Dancer.

“I was optimistic going in,” Sallusto said. “I know I can beat that field. In turf races, it’s all about the trip.

A two-time Grade 1 winner this year, Teaks North is guaranteed a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Turf by virtue of his Win and You’re In victory in the U.N.

Teaks North will likely make his next start in Belmont’s Bowling Green Stakes on Sept. 11.