08/04/2012 4:20PM

Saratoga: Air Support gets class relief in attempt to end drought

Keeneland/Coady Photography
Air Support, winning the 2011 Transylvania at Keeneland, comes into Monday's allowance race off a second-place finish in the Grade 1 United Nations.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Air Support, winless since rallying to capture the Grade 2 Virginia Derby 13 months ago, will attempt to rectify that situation when he returns to allowance competition in Monday’s co-featured ninth race at Saratoga, carded at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

Air Support was stopped on by trainer Shug McGaughey for the remainder of his 3-year-old campaign following his huge performance in the Virginia Derby. He has only tried allowance company one other time prior to Monday, finishing fifth in a stakes-caliber field at Keeneland when launching his 2012 campaign on April 7. But Air Support did have a big excuse that day, having to run without hind shoes after losing one in the paddock.

[Complete coverage of racing at Saratoga: News, PPs, and video]

Air Support has finished second in each of his last two starts, both stakes, behind the loose-on-the-lead Turbo Compressor in the rich Colonial Turf Cup and again last month in the Grade 1 United Nations at Monmouth Park.

“He hasn’t won a race in a year and I’m just trying to find a spot which was a little easier for him to just kind of get him going and get his confidence back,” said McGaughey. “I didn’t really want to run him a mile and five-eighths in the John’s Call [Friday] and I thought this would be a good prep for the Bowling Green, which is right when we get back to Belmont from here.”

Although it has been more than a year since Air Support has visited the winner’s circle, McGaughey said he was pleased with each of Air Support’s last two races.

“He just caught two paceless races in his last two starts but he’s doing great,” said McGaughey.

Fully Living works swiftly

Fully Living, who finished a wide-running fourth in the Grade 3 Schuylerville here earlier in the meet, bounced back with a blistering half-mile work in 46.34 seconds over the main track on Saturday. Fully Living, who actually began the drill with a big run from the 4 1/2-furlong pole, completed her opening quarter in 22.32 and galloped out five-eighths in 1:00.05.

“She worked fantastic. She worked freaky good, much faster than really we wanted her to but she did it within herself,” said trainer Ken McPeek. “It was a pretty special work but they don’t pay us for those. We’ll slow her down next weekend. The plan is to wait for the stakes at the end of the meet.”

McPeek was referring to the Grade 2 Spinaway going seven furlongs on Sept. 2. He described her trip in the Schuylerville as “pretty ugly”.

“She was eight wide in a six horse field,” said McPeek.

Another Davis to begin riding

Dillon Davis will follow in the footsteps of his sister Jackie Davis and father Robbie Davis when he accepts his first career mounts on Monday’s card. In fact, the younger Davis, 18, could ride his first race aboard Sandyinthesun, who is trained by his father, in Monday’s second race. Sandyinthesun’s only previous victory came with Jackie Davis aboard last December at Aqueduct.

Davis, who has been working primarily for Wesley Ward here this summer, was also named aboard three horses for Ward on Monday’s card, including Kansas, who is on the also-eligible list in the afternoon’s opening event. Davis’s other potential mounts on Monday include Black Rhino in the fourth, Fierce in the fifth, and another 2-year-old on the also-eligible list, Richiesbronxbomber, in the seventh race.