08/10/2011 4:42PM

Saratoga: Teaks North seeks third Grade 1 of 2011 in Sword Dancer

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Bill Denver/Equiphotos
Teaks North has already won the Gulfstream Park Handicap and the United Nations, both Grade 1 turf events, this season.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Teaks North will be in search of his third Grade 1 victory of the year as well as a little respect when he takes on seven horses in Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Sword Dancer Invitational at Saratoga.

Teaks North has Grade 1 victories in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap in February and the United Nations last month at Monmouth Park. He also owns a victory in the Grade 3 Monmouth Stakes. Still, you hardly hear his name mentioned among the elite of the male turf division.

“I think people are starting to gain some respect for him,’’ trainer Justin Sallusto said. “As he continues to race and perform well against and beat the top horses he’ll obtain the respect he’s rightfully due.’’

Sallusto said he believes the United Nations was a career-best effort by Teaks North, “because the competition was the toughest,’’ he said. “Extending the distance from 1 1/8 miles to 1 3/8 miles in a shorter period of time I think showed me how much substance the horse has.’’

Teaks North, who will break from post 7 under Jose Lezcano, will be trying 1 1/2 miles for the first time in the Sword Dancer. As the 123-pound highweight, Teaks North will be spotting three to seven pounds to a field that includes 2010 Belmont Stakes winner Drosselmeyer, multiple Grade 1 stakes winner Winchester, and the up-and-coming Boisterous.

Drosselmeyer returns to the turf for the first time since his 2-year-old year when he finished third and second in his first two career starts. Drosselmeyer, trained by Bill Mott, will break from the hedge under Eddie Castro. Mott also sends out Al Khali, who finished third in last year’s Sword Dancer. Al Khali did win the Saranac Stakes here as a 3-year-old.

Mott said he would not run Al Khali if the turf course is too soft.

Trainer Christophe Clement entered both Winchester and Grassy. Winchester, who drew post 8, will definitely run while Grassy, who drew post 2, is only possible. Clement said Grassy would prefer soft ground. He finished seventh in last year’s Sword Dancer run over firm turf.

Boisterous comes out of a third-place finish in the Man o’ War. Bim Bam, second in the Grade 1 Manhattan, and Rahy’s Attorney, who won the Grade 3 Pan American at Gulfstream, complete the field.