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Trainer’s $100,000 ‘Gamble’ Runs Friday In $100,000 Berkeley Handicap
Teaks North, a two-time Grade 1 stakes winner who was purchased via the claim box for $100,000 by trainer Eric Guillot, is among the six horses set to start in the $100,000 Berkeley Handicap at Golden Gate Fields Friday.
The Berkeley, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds and up, is the feature event on a special “Black Friday” racing program that begins at 12:45 p.m. Post time for the Berkeley, the seventh race on the card, is 3:45 p.m.
Fans attending Golden Gate Fields will have the chance to win a 42-inch high-definition television as one television will be raffled off after each of the nine races on the program. The winning jockey from each race will reach into the contest bin, pull out an entry card, and announce the winner to the crowd.
Teaks North was entered for the $100,000 claiming price on Aug. 15 at Saratoga despite having run second in the Grade 1 United Nations Handicap at Monmouth Park in his previous start on July 6.
“They were trying to lose him, and they did,” said Guillot, one of three people to put in a claim for the 6-year-old gelding. Guillot got Teaks North when he won the shake (a drawing held to determine who gets the horse when multiple claims are submitted).
“He had some pretty bad feet when I claimed him,” said Guillot. “I claimed him because he was an old warrior, millionaire. It’s a gamble. We’ve been working on his feet aggressively, and he’s going the right way.”
Teaks North, who in 2011 captured the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap and the Grade 1 United Nations Handicap, has $1,288,364 in career earnings. In 30 starts, Teaks North has amassed nine wins (seven in stakes), three seconds and two thirds.
Teaks North has started twice for Guillot and finished fifth in the Grade 2 John Henry Turf Cup on Sept. 29 and 11th in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf on Nov. 2. Both races were at Santa Anita.
Teaks North had the lead in midstretch of the 1 1/4-mile John Henry and ended up being beaten 2 1/2 lengths by winner Indy Point. Teaks North set a suicidal pace (six furlongs in 1:10 3/5) in the 1 1/2-mile Breeders’ Cup Turf and consequently did a fade job.
“He went way too fast in the Breeders’ Cup,” said Guilliot. “He almost stole it on the front end in the John Henry Turf Cup.”
Teaks North will race on a synthetic surface for the first time when he competes in the Berkeley, which will be run on Golden Gate Fields’ Tapeta track.
“I figured this was a good spot to try him (on synthetics),” said Guillot. “Backing up in distance, and with his back class, it looks like a good spot. I think a mile and a sixteenth is right up in his wheelhouse.”
Teaks North, who has two wins and a third in four tries at 1 1/16-miles, will be ridden by Dennis Carr in the Berkeley and is 4-1 on the morning line.
The field for the Berkeley Handicap, in post position order with riders, weight assignments and morning-line odds, is as follows: Fire With Fire, Juan Hernandez, 119, 6-1; Teaks North, Carr, 121, 4-1; Stryker Phd, Isaias Enriquez, 116, 10-1; Administer, Leslie Mawing, 116, 8-1; Summer Hit, Baze, 123, 8-5; and Majestic City, Jose Valdivia, Jr., 119, 2-1.