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Breeders' Cup 2017

Dirt Mile Clear Choice for Jersey Town

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.”

 

Jersey 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.”

 

 

 

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