09/28/2011 11:41AM

Breeders' Cup: Jersey Town preps for Dirt Mile in Kelso

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Jersey Town skipped the Breeders' Cup last year for the Cigar Mile, which he won.

When owner Charles Fipke sent Jersey Town to Barclay Tagg late last summer, he did so with the intention of making the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. Tagg, not content with how the horse was doing physically, said he needed more time and asked Fipke if he could point to the Grade 1 Cigar Mile instead.

Tagg’s decision paid off handsomely when Jersey Town outfinsihed Haynesfield by a head to win the Cigar Mile at odds of 34-1.

After bringing Jersey Town back from ankle surgery this year, Fipke asked Tagg if he could point to the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.

“I’m not going to deny him twice,” Tagg said. “It all worked out last year. We tried to make a plan for him this year, and so far it’s worked out. We got two races in him, and we’re looking forward to this one.”

After finishing second to Force Freeze in the swiftly run Teddy Drone Stakes and second to Jackson Bend in the Grade 1 Forego, Jersey Town will start next in Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Kelso Handicap at Belmont Park. The Kelso is a Win and You’re In race for the Dirt Mile and features Uncle Mo, who is more seriously targeting the BC Classic, and Jackson Bend, who earned his way to the Dirt Mile by winning the Forego.

“I was hoping it wouldn’t come up as tough as it’s coming up, but at least he’s got two races under his belt, and I’ll tell you he’s doing awfully well,” Tagg said. “I’m not afraid to go in there.”

Channeling his inner Richard Dutrow Jr., Tagg then added, “I like him, [assistant] Robin [Smullen] likes him, we’re all in, babe.”

While Jackson Bend and Jersey Town are targeting the Dirt Mile, there are a plethora of horses that are considering the Dirt Mile and other Breeders’ Cup races. Uncle Mo would be a natural fit for the Dirt Mile, though his connections are more interested in the Classic. The Factor, who is running in the Oct. 8 Ancient Title, and Trappe Shot, running in Saturday’s Vosburgh, are both candidates for the Sprint and Dirt Mile.

Twirling Candy is a candidate for the Mile and Classic.

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