Air Support, coming from the clouds, surged past 20-1 shot Casino Host in deep stretch to capture the $600,000 Virginia Derby (gr. IIT) by a neck over the closing Banned on the turf at Colonial Downs July 16.
Ridden by Alex Solis for trainer Shug McGaughey and owner/breeder Stuart Janney III, Air Support, sent off at odds of 6-1, earned his first victory since taking Keeneland's Transylvania Stakes (gr. IIIT) by a nose April 8. It was the first Virginia Derby win for his connections.
The son of Smart Strike out of the Danzig mare Gaze was coming off a distant runner-up finish to Virginia Derby rival Street Game in the one-mile Hill Prince Stakes (gr. IIIT) on a yielding Belmont Park Widener turf course June 18.