10/17/2012 4:23PM

Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile: Jersey Town among top contenders getting down to work

Barbara D. Livingston
Jersey Town snapped a seven-race, 22-month losing skein by taking the Grade 1 Kelso Mile at Belmont.

A slew of workouts for Dirt Mile prospects took place early this week at venues across the continent, with one of the probable favorites, Jersey Town, tuning up Wednesday at Belmont Park with a five-furlong breeze in 1:01.20.

It was the second work for Jersey Town since the 6-year-old horse snapped a seven-race, 22-month losing skein by taking the Grade 1 Kelso Mile at Belmont.

“He did everything good,” said trainer Barclay Tagg. “I’m really pleased with the way he’s coming into this thing.”

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Other recent works for Dirt Mile hopefuls included Handsome Mike, six furlongs in 1:13.40 Monday at Santa Anita; Tapizar, five furlongs in 1:01 Monday at Santa Anita; Politicallycorrect, five furlongs in 59.60 seconds Monday in company; and Rail Trip, a half-mile from the gate in 47.60 seconds Wednesday over the Hollywood synthetic.

Meanwhile, another of the possible favorites, Emcee, has been in steady training at Saratoga and is reported to be leaning toward the BC Sprint instead of the Mile, although Godolphin and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin have yet to make a final determination. Emcee, winner of the Grade 1 Forego in his last start, is scheduled to breeze Friday.

In California, another favorite, Shackleford, has settled in well with stable assistant Tammy Fox since arriving Monday from Kentucky, according to trainer Dale Romans.

One new possibility for the Dirt Mile surfaced this week when Richard Mandella said the owners of Nates Mineshaft are considering a run after turning the speedy 5-year-old ridgling over to him.

“He’s a thought” for the race, said Mandella, who won four BC races at Santa Anita in 2003.

Tapizar, a distant sixth in the Kelso Mile, is not firm for the race, said trainer Steve Asmussen. “We’ll work him again next week and come to a decision,” he said.

Likewise, trainer Bob Baffert said he has yet to decide whether to commit 3-year-old Fed Biz to the race. “Not yet,” he said Tuesday.

Trainer Ron Ellis said he worked Rail Trip out of the gate partly as a means of “sharpening him up to turn back from these longer races he’s been running in.”