10/30/2010 5:47PM

Switch from turf to dirt no problem for Teaks North

Bill Denver/Equiphotos
Teaks North, who had been racing on turf, proved equally adept on dirt, winning the Big Brown Stakes under jockey Jose Valdivia Jr.

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Teaks North made a smooth transition back to dirt, winning the $70,000 Big Brown Stakes for 3-year-olds by two lengths over Cactus Charlie on Saturday at Monmouth Park.

A perfect ground-saving ride by Jose Valdivia Jr. didn’t hurt either.

Teaks North was back on the main track after three productive efforts on grass. He recorded a pair of wins, including Monmouth’s Restoration Stakes, before heading to Belmont Park and a fifth-place finish in the Grade 1 Jamaica Handicap.

Back home, and back on dirt, Teaks North broke well and sat third on the fence as Magic Lion and Calvello set the pace. The field bunched up turning for home with five horses stacked across the track. Teaks North wasn’t one of them.

As they straightened in the lane, Valdivia found a seam along the fence. As they say in turf circles, Teaks North “quickened” and easily took command for his fourth win in nine tries.

“I believe he is a multiple-faceted horse,” said winning trainer Justin Sallusto. “He likes the dirt and he likes the turf. He really likes the outside better than the inside but when you’re a good horse, you can overcome all adversity.”

With the season winding down here, Sallusto is considering a California trip for Teaks North to the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby on Nov. 28.
The time was 1:44.06 for the 1 1/16 miles on the fast track.

Southern Ridge was third, followed by Goombada Guska, Thomas Got Even, Calvello, and Magic Lion.