Nagging foot issues have limited Jersey
Town’s schedule in recent years, but trainer Barclay Tagg said
the 6-year-old is entering Saturday’s Grade 2, $400,000 Kelso Handicap in
the best shape since he won the 2010 Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap.
“He has the right amount of breezes under his belt, and
he’s coming off a race [a third in the Grade 1 Forego on September 1 at
Saratoga Race Course] he well ran in,” said Tagg. “He has so many
minor problems that it’s hard to bring him into a race step-by-step.
Right now we’ve been able to do that, so hopefully he’ll run well.
He looks good because he fills out like a monster.”
Jersey Town returned from a four-month layoff to finish
fifth in Saratoga’s
Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt on August 5, then made a bold inside rally in the
Forego to lead turning for home before tiring to third, 4 ½ lengths behind
winner Emcee and a neck behind runner-up Hamazing Destiny.
“He had an opening at the five-sixteenths pole [in the Forego],
and he shot through it like the wire was 10 feet on,” said Tagg.
“That’s a bad group to do that with. It turns out it stayed wide
open anyway; nobody came back on the rail. He could have done it at the
three-sixteenths pole and it would have been a lot better. He has about a good
three-sixteenths of a mile where he’ll really explode. If you ask him for
more than that, he’s probably going to come up short.”
Tagg was going to run Jersey
Town in the Grade 1
Vosburgh Invitational on Saturday as he believes the Charles Fipke homebred is
best at the Vosburgh’s six-furlong distance, but called an audible on
Wednesday and instead entered the chestnut in the Kelso.
“It looked like the Kelso was the better place than the
Vosburgh,” said Tagg. “There are monsters in both races. There were
monsters when he won the Cigar Mile, too. I don’t like either race in
particular for him. If To Honor and Serve is on his game, he can be unbeatable,
but he can be a little inconsistent. I think the mile has the chance to set up
speed-wise for an explosive finish. If it doesn’t work out, it
doesn’t work out.”