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Jamaica Likely for Air Support

Trainer Shug McGaughey said Saturday that Grade 2 Virginia Derby winner Air Support would likely be pointed for the Grade 1 Jamaica Handicap, 1 1/8 miles at Belmont Park on October 8. The 3-year-old son of Smart Strike, a three-time graded stakes winner on turf, had been under consideration for the Grade 1 Secretariat at Arlington Park on August 13, but McGaughey opted to skip the race.


“I’m going to point him, I think, for the Jamaica,” the trainer said. “I think [the Virginia Derby] took a lot out of him and I think I made the right decision [not to run in the Secretariat]. I just couldn’t really get a good feel for it, so I just said, ‘Let’s shut it down for awhile.’ Now, I can breathe a little bit easier and don’t have to rush.”


Air Support has worked once since the Virginia Derby, a half-mile move on August 1 over the Oklahoma turf that went in 48.32. McGaughey didn’t rule out a start before the Jamaica, but said the Grade 1 was the goal.


“Nothing was wrong with him,” McGaughey said. “but I just couldn’t get a good enough feel where I could put him on an airplane and take him out there and run him in a Grade 1, and I’m satisfied with that decision.”


McGaughey also revealed that Seal Cove, winner of the Gleaming overnight stakes at Saratoga on August 8, would aim for the Grade 3, $100,000, 1 1/8-mile Saranac on Sunday, September 4.


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Hall of Fame jockey Randy Romero will be at Saratoga Race Course on Sunday as the seventh race will be named, “Randy’s Race for Healthy Kidneys.” The Northeast Kidney Foundation will be in the community outreach booth during the day collecting donations. The booth is located outside of the jockey’s room in the Saratoga backyard. Romero will also be available for interviews throughout the day.


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