09/19/2011 2:59PM

Belmont: Jersey Town tuning up for Kelso

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Jersey Town, with Cornelio Velasquez riding, wins the 2010 Cigar Mile.

ELMONT, N.Y. – The presence of Uncle Mo and Jackson Bend will dominate the discussion of the Grade 2, $200,000 Kelso Stakes at Belmont on Oct. 1, but lurking in the weeds will be Jersey Town, who upset last year’s Grade 1 Cigar Mile at 34-1.

Monday, Jersey Town continued preparations for his Kelso start by working five furlongs in 1:00.67 over the Belmont main track. Jersey Town did go his first quarter in 23.80 seconds, and finished in 36.87 while being shut down immediately after the wire by jockey Cornelio Velasquez.

“Cornelio has it in mind that once he hits the wire he’s done enough,” said Robin Smullen, assistant to trainer Barclay Tagg.

All in all, Smullen and Tagg seemed pleased with the work and are happy with the progress Jersey Town has made since coming back from surgery this year. In his two previous starts, Jersey Town finished second in the rapidly run Teddy Drone Stakes going six furlongs at Monmouth and second to Jackson Bend in the Grade 1 Forego going seven-eighths at Saratoga.

“His first race we knew he was short, but we had to get something into him,” Smullen said. “We were pleased with his effort in that first race, and we were very pleased with his second race. We know we’re going in the right direction.”

Smullen said that the races – more so than his morning training – has helped get Jersey Town fit for what his connections hope are top efforts in the Kelso and then the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Churchill Downs in November.

“He doesn’t feel heavy underneath you when you gallop him,” said Smullen, who regularly gallops Jersey Town. “He feels light on his feet.”

Jersey Town will have one more breeze next week before the Kelso.

With Uncle Mo, Jackson Bend, and Jersey Town all Grade 1 winners in a Grade 2 race with a $200,000 pot, the field for the Kelso figures to be small.

One horse who could join the fray is Rodman, the Metropolitan Handicap runner-up who on Monday worked five furlongs in 1:00.71 over Belmont’s main track.

Trainer Mike Hushion said the Kelso is one race under consideration for Rodman.

◗ Deluxe, the half-sister to five Grade 1 winners who was beaten a head in her U.S. debut at Saratoga on Sept. 3, worked five furlongs in 1:00.67 over the outer turf course on Monday.

Deluxe, trained by Bill Mott, is pointing to the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational here on Oct. 1.

◗ B Shanny, a maiden winner going seven-furlongs at Saratoga on Aug. 20, worked five furlongs in 1:00.20 Monday morning at Belmont. He is being pointed to the Grade 1 Champagne here on Oct. 8.