09/26/2007 11:00PM

After Market going after elusive win at a mile

EmailELMONT, N.Y. - There is very little that After Market hasn't done in his 12-race career. But one thing he hasn't shown yet is the ability to win at a mile. He will get a third opportunity to do just that when he heads an 11-horse field entered in Saturday's Grade 2, $250,000 Kelso Breeders' Cup Handicap at Belmont Park.

After Market has won 8 of 12 starts on turf, ranging in distance from 1 1/16 miles to 1 3/8 miles. He has won at Aqueduct, Belmont, Saratoga, Hollywood Park, and Del Mar.

In two starts at a mile, however, After Market finished eighth in a fourth-level allowance race at Gulfstream and sixth in the Grade 1 Kilroe Handicap at Santa Anita. The Gulfstream race came off a 144-day layoff and was his last start for trainer Bill Mott

In the Kilroe, at Santa Anita, new trainer John Shirreffs said that After Market had just arrived from south Florida and had not yet adjusted to his surroundings. In his last four starts, however, After Market has developed into the dominant male turf horse on the West Coast, winning the Inglewood, Charlie Whittingham, Eddie Read, and Del Mar handicaps.

Saturday he will have to carry 124 pounds, spotting seven to 12 pounds to his 10 rivals.

"He's got so much talent it's hard to say what he can or can't do," Shirreffs said. "Hopefully, in the Kelso there's a lot of pace up front. We'd love to see them head to head. He's got an explosive turn of foot."

There should be ample pace in the race with Calder shipper Jet Propulsion and English Colony, a winner of four straight races, in the field. Jet Propulsion is coming off a front-running score in the Carterista Handicap at Calder.

"He got to do what he loves to do - take control of the race and win it," said assistant trainer Donna Green, who is overseeing Jet Propulsion for trainer Daniel Hurtak.

Art Master, Icy Atlantic, and Strike a Deal are all proven closers at the one-mile distance.

Art Master won the Poker going a mile over this course before running Shakespeare to within a half-length in an allowance race at Saratoga. Art Master finished ninth to Shakespeare in the Woodbine Mile last time out.

Julien Leparoux told Bobby Frankel that Art Master "never tried one jump the whole way," Frankel said. "He was never into the race."

Icy Atlantic has won his last two starts at a mile, including the Grade 2 Arcadia Handicap at Santa Anita and the Grade 3 Red Bank at Monmouth Park. In the Red Bank, he set a course record of 1:32.42, eclipsing the mark held by Ashkal Way (1:32.50), who won last year's Kelso.

"He's had a really good year, starting off in California, and really kept it going," trainer Todd Pletcher said. "We'll be interested to see how he handles a little step up in competition here."

Strike a Deal is 2 for 2 at a mile, including a victory over Summer Doldrums in an overnight stakes here in May.

"I think he's a little better with a target," trainer Alan Goldberg said. "In the last few races it hasn't happened. There looks like there's plenty of gas here, so hopefully we're sitting fourth, fifth, or sixth and make a run."

Palace Episode, a Group 1 winner at 2, is coming off a third-level allowance win at Saratoga.