Trained by Ian Wilkes for owner/breeder A.Stevens Miles Jr., Neck ’n Neck put things together after the Triple Crown season when the Flower Alley colt posted a 6 1/2-length victory in an allowance race and a 7 1/4-length score in the Matt Winn Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs.
The late-developing 3-year-old then was shippped to Saratoga Race Course where he finished second to Alpha in the Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) before an off-the-board finish in the Travers Stakes (gr. 1).
In early stretch, eight of the 11 three-year-olds were within two lengths of the lead. Neck ‘n Neck found another gear to rally seven wide for clear sailing on his way to a one-length victory over Super Derby (gr. II) winner Bourbon Courage, who also came on strongly in deep stretch. Favorite Fed Biz, trained by two-time Indiana Derby winner Bob Baffert, held third, a head behind the runner-up.
"We gave up some ground by racing on the outside," Wilkes said. "But it worked out because he was in the clear to make his rally."
Neck ’n Neck completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.71 on a good track. The first starter out of the winning Storm Boot mare Bootery, Neck ’n Neck has won 4 of 13 starts and has earned $609,776.
Wilkes said Neck 'n Neck will not be pointed to a Breeders' Cup race. He will meet with Miles and discuss plans for the Indiana Derby winner.