Neck ‘n Neck had
an eventful prep for
Saturday’s Grade 2 Jim Dandy this morning on the main track, with two
horses breaking from the gate and coming up behind him as he left the pole and
another horse serving as an unintentional target as he came down the stretch.
With jockey Julien Leparoux aboard, Neck ‘n Neck completed the
five furlongs in 59.76 seconds, fourth-fastest of 39 works at the distance.
“He did it nice and easy,” said Ian Wilkes, who trains Neck
‘n Neck for A. Stevens Miles, Jr. “It was a good education.”
The Flower Alley colt, who will be ridden in Saturday’s 1
1/8-mile race by Leandro Goncalves, comes into the Jim Dandy off an impressive
7 ¼-length victory in the Grade 3 Matt Winn, his first stakes score and second
“He’s growing up, that’s the biggest thing,”
said Wilkes of Neck ‘n Neck, 3-1-0 from 10 lifetime starts.
“He’s doing things more professionally. He’s more of a
racehorse now, not the big kid that wanted to play around.”
Wilkes also sent out Fort
Larned for his
penultimate breeze prior to the Grade 1, $750,000 Whitney Handicap on August 4.
The dual Grade 3 winner covered five furlongs in 1:02.05.
“He worked fast the other day [a bullet 47.88], very fast,”
said Wilkes. “I wanted an easy work because he’ll have another work
before he runs. This was a maintenance work. He did it very, very easy and
galloped out good. He’s right on schedule. I can adjust to whatever I
need for his next work and watch how he does for the week.”