09/15/2011 4:26PM

Belmont: Air Support done for the year

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Keeneland/Coady Photography
Air Support, winning the Transylvania at Keeneland, will be given an extended vacation and is unliekly to race again until the spring of his 4-year-old season.

Air Support, winner of the Virginia Derby in July, has been turned out for the remainder of the year, trainer Shug McGaughey said Thursday.

McGaughey shipped Air Support to Niall Brennan’s farm in Ocala, Fla., and will point him to a 4-year-old campaign that likely won’t begin until April.

“He just never seemed to bounce back out of his race in Virginia so I piddled with him and piddled with him and I could never got him the way I wanted him so I pulled the plug,’’ McGaughey said.

McGaughey said Air Support would likely winter at Payson Park and he would try to get him ready to run by the Keeneland spring meet.

“And if he’s that kind maybe some of the longer [stakes] races here throughout the summer,’’ said McGaughey, referring to races such as the Manhattan and Man o’ War.

Air Support, a son of Smart Strike owned and bred by Stuart Janney, won the Grade 3 Pilgrim at Belmont at 2 and the Grade 3 Transylvania at Keeneland to begin his 3-year-old season. After running third in the American Turf at Churchill and second in the Hill Prince here, Air Support won the Grade 2, $600,000 Virginia Derby by a neck over Banned at Colonial on July 16.

Barbaro’s brother debuts here Saturday

Margano, a 2-year-old full-brother to 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, makes his debut at Belmont on Saturday in a 1 1/16-mile turf race that goes as the finale on 10-race card.

Margano, trained by Barclay Tagg and owned by Roy and Gretchen Jackson’s Lael Stable – the same owner of Barbaro – has worked 13 times since mid-June for his debut.

“He’s physically ready to run, he’s had a lot of works, he’s mentally not quite ready, but you have to start somewhere,’’ said Robin Smullen, assistant trainer to Tagg. “We were considering the six-furlong turf race next week, but Barclay and I talked about it and we felt that might run him off his feet.

“He’s bred to go long,’’ Smullen added. “And I just think maybe he can settle a little bit and try to make a run and see where we are and hopefully we’ll get him to where he’s mentally ready.’’

Barbaro, who died of laminitis eight months after he broke down in the early stages of the 2006 Preakness, won his debut in October 2005 going a mile on turf. Nicanor, a full brother to Barbaro and Margano, won his turf debut by 15 1/4 lengths at Delaware Park and did win an allowance race at Belmont. Lentenor, another full brother, won a turf maiden event at 1 1/16 miles in his third career start.

Aviate heads Noble Damsel

Aviate, winner of the Grade 2 Distaff Turf Mile at Churchill, heads a field of seven entered for Sunday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Noble Damsel. The race includes supplemental nominees Aquitaine and Twilight Memory as well as European shipper Thai Haku.

Aquitaine and Unbridled Humor are both cross-entered in Sundays $60,000 Politely Stakes at Monmouth Park.