Neck 'n Neck Surges to Indiana Derby Win
by Frank Angst
Date Posted: 10/6/2012 9:15:53 PM
Last Updated: 10/9/2012 2:28:36 PM

Neck 'n Neck surges late to win the Indiana Derby.
Photo: Linscott Photography

Closer to his Kentucky base, Neck 'n Neck returned to his best form Oct. 6, rallying from 10th early to win the $513,600 Indiana Derby (gr. II) at Hoosier Park (VIDEO).

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 the Indiana Derby, Neck 'n Neck rated far back for jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. while 6-5 favorite Fed Biz   dueled with 73-1 shot Junebugred through a half-mile in :48.32 and six furlongs in 1:12.70.

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.

Finishing fourth was Morgan's Guerrilla, followed by Afford, Tritap  , O'Prado Again, Easter Gift, Junebugred, Second City, and Stealcase.

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