Neck 'n Neck Romps in Matt Winn
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Neck 'n Neck and Leandro Goncalves take the Matt Winn Stakes.
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Neck 'n Neck came through with his second straight win at Churchill Downs when he captured the $107,100 Matt Winn Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-olds by 7 1/4 lengths over Stealcase.

Ridden by Leandro Goncalves for breeder/owner A. Steven Miles Jr., Neck ’n Neck ran the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.72 (VIDEO). 

Gulf Coast Farms and Pollock Farms’ Right to Vote set the pace as the 9-5 choice in the field of five with English Ranch Farm’s Master Rick closely behind followed by Neck ’n Neck. Master Rick and Neck ’n Neck drew even with Right to Vote around the far turn. Racing on the outside, Neck ’n Neck took charge at the top of stretch, drawing out to a 5 1/2-length advantage at mid-stretch. In the race for second, Stealcase finished a neck in front of Macho Macho, with Right to Vote and Master Rick several lengths farther back at the finish.

“This horse has a lot of talent," Goncalves said. "He had been training well in the morning, and he ran big today. He’s a nice horse. I felt like I had a ton of horse the whole way. When I finally asked him, he just took over and drove away.”

Neck 'n Neck paid $10. $4.20, and 3. Stealcase returned $3.60 and $2.80, and Macho Macho paid $3.20.

Neck ’n Neck, who is trained by Ian Wilkes and produced from the Storm Boot mare Bootery, signaled that he bore watching in the race because of his pedigree. His sire, Flower Alley, sired this year’s Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner I'll Have Another  .

Neck ’n Neck, who won at Churchill by 6 1/2 lengths May 10 last time out, picked up his first stakes win. He earned $66,402, upping his career earnings to $196,772. He improved his record to three wins from 10 starts, with all of his victories coming in five races at Churchill Downs.

 
 

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