Air Support is one of 12 that look likely for Sunday's 1 1/2-mile Grade I Pattison Canadian International, the final race of the Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" series. The race is tied to the Breeders' Cup Turf.
Air Support, a four-year-old son of Smart Strike, certainly figures to be well-backed. The Kentucky-bred comes off a head win in the Grade II Bowling Green on Sept. 8 at Belmont and has proven to be a consistent performer for trainer Shug McGaughey. The colt was second earlier this year to Turbo Compressor in both the Colonial Turf Cup and Grade I United Nations.
“He’s had a good year,” said McGaughey. “In the Colonial Turf Cup, he was the victim of pace, as he was in the United Nations. But he came back and ran a good race in an allowance race, then ran a good race in the Bowling Green. He seems to be doing good. I think he’s probably a true mile and a half horse. He’s a nice little package, not a great big horse, but he’s put together right. He’s pretty push button. He’s been very sound, so we’re looking forward to the opportunity of running him.”
Javier Castellano, who scored a shocking upset in the 2008 Pattison aboard 29-1 shot Marsh Side, will climb aboard Air Support for the first time since 2010. Together, they won a maiden turf contest at Saratoga.
As usual, many international shippers are in the race. Already on the grounds are Dandino, Joshua Tree, Lay Time and Wigmore Hall. Joshua Tree won this race in 2010 and was second last year. Wigmore Hall has won the Grade I Northern Dancer at the track the past two runnings, barely beating Al Khali this year.
Reliable Man was due in Tuesday from France. On Wednesday, Imperial Monarch is coming from Ireland, and on Thursday or Friday U. S. runners Air Support, Al Khali and Prince Will I Am should arrive.
Two Woodbine-based runners expected in the field are Forte Dei Marmi and Stormy Lord. Forte Dei Marmi was third in the Northern Dancer and and won the Grade II Sky Classic at Woodbine in August.
Pattison Canadian probables, with owner, trainer and jockey listed:
Air Support -- Stuart Janney -- Shug McGaughey -- Javier Castellano
Al Khali -- Brous Stable and Wachtel Stable -- Bill Mott -- Garrett Gomez
Dandino -- Elite Racing Club -- James Fanshawe -- Jim Crowley
Forte Dei Marmi -- Stella Perdomo -- Roger Attfield -- John Velazquez
Imperial Monarch -- Magnier, Tabor & Smith -- Aidan O’Brien -- TBA
Joshua Tree -- Nabouda & Albahou -- Marco Botti -- Frankie Dettori
Lay Time -- Robert Barnett -- Andrew Balding -- Jimmy Fortune
Prince Will I Am -- Casa Farms I LLC -- Michelle Nihei -- Luis Contreras
Reliable Man -- Fair Salinia Ltd. -- Alain de Royer-Dupre -- Gerald Mosse
Scalo -- Gestut Ittlingun -- Andreas Wohler -- Andrasch Starke
Stormy Lord -- Hat Trick Stables & Kinghaven Farms -- Ian Black -- TBA
Wigmore Hall -- Mark Hawtin -- Michael Bell -- Jamie Spencer
--Edited Woodbine release with additional content by Dick Downey