Air Support wins Transylvania Stakes by a nose
Air Support helped kick off Keeneland's 75th anniversary celebration in exciting fashion when he made a late push and edged Great Mills by a nose to win the Grade 3 Transylvania Stakes on Friday.
Air Support had not raced since finishing ninth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf last November.
''My horse settled pretty well, and it seemed like they were going pretty fast up front,'' said the 3-year-old colt's jockey, Rajiv Maragh. ''I felt like I had won it, but until they post the number you aren't 100 percent sure. I really thought I did get there.''
Great Mills set swift fractions and led for the majority of the 1 1-16 miles on turf before being caught at the wire.
Air Support finished with a time of 1:41.99 and paid $23.20, $10.60 and $6.40. Great Mills returned $7.80 and $4.80. Adirondack Summer was a neck back in third and paid $3.40.
Pluck, who won the Grade 2 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, was the race favorite but finished a disappointing seventh in a field of nine.
As a 2-year-old, Air Support defeated current Kentucky Derby hopeful Soldat in the Grade 3 Pilgrim Stakes. The homebred colt has now won three of six lifetime starts and has earnings of $187,100.
''He trained well in Florida this winter and I thought, 'Well, I'll take a look (at Transylvania),''' said Shug McGaughey, who trains Air Support for Stuart Janney III. ''His breeze down there last Sunday before he left (for Keeneland) was very good, so we decided to take a chance.''
Keeneland's opening day drew 22,747 people. The spring meet runs through April 29.