Up until the moment Jersey Town
took the lead in Saturday’s Grade 2 Kelso, trainer Barclay Tagg wasn’t
sure he had made the right decision in sending the 6-year-old in the one-mile
race instead of the Grade 1 Vosburgh at six furlongs.
Looking ahead to the Breeders’ Cup, however, the choice is clear.
“He’ll go in the [$1 million] Dirt Mile,” said Tagg.
“I was really going back and forth between the Vosburgh and the Kelso,
and I think in a mile you have a bit more maneuverability. I thought the top
two horses in the Kelso were Billy [Mott’s] horse [To Honor and Serve]
and Shackleford. I love Billy’s horse and I’ve watched him do some
marvelous things. I’ve never felt I had anything that could come close to
him, but he can be a little inconsistent. And I thought if he’s
inconsistent, then I just have Shackleford to worry about, and maybe I should
go in the Kelso. I was weighing it back and forth, back and forth, and I
didn’t know whether I had made the right choice until he made the lead.
But, it worked out well.”
Town, whose last victory
prior to the Kelso came in the 2010 Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap at Aqueduct, likely
will head to Santa Anita as “late as possible,” said Tagg.
“We’ll try to keep him as fit and happy and healthy as we
can, get him out there, and see what happens,” said Tagg, who has had
five Breeders’ Cup starters, with his best finishes a pair of
fourth-place efforts in 2007 at Monmouth
Park from Tale of Ekati
in the Juvenile and Nobiz Like Shobiz in the Mile. “I don’t know
what I’m going to run into out there.
“He might not even like the track; you never know,” he
added. “And then what do you do? Do you get him out there early and try
and get him used to the track? And then what happens, a lot of times, is if
they don’t like the track they just get worse and worse and worse. And if
they do like it, you didn’t need to get out there early. So I prefer to
go in at the last possible second.”