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Neck ’n Neck Resumes Light Training

Neck'n Neck ridden by Leandro Goncalves and trained by Ian Wilkes take the G3 Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky Saturday June 16, 2012.
Multiple graded stakes winner Neck ’n Neck, who sustained a sesamoid injury in his left front leg while being prepared for the Clark Handicap (GI) in November, returned to trainer Ian Wilkes barn at Churchill Downs earlier this week and resumed light training Wednesday.
“It’s good to have him back,” Wilkes said. “He’s still a clown like always. Everything looks good so far. No problems.”
Prior to being injured, Neck ’n Neck scored back-to-back wins in the Indiana Derby (GII) and Ack Ack Handicap (GIII) for owner and breeder A. Stevens Miles Jr. Earlier in 2012, Neck ’n Neck won the Matt Winn (GIII) at Churchill Downs by 7 ¼ lengths.
“You just don’t know at the time (if they’ll be back),” Wilkes said. “You have to wait and see how the surgery goes and see what the damage is to the suspensory branch. When we saw there was minimal damage to the suspensory branch, we were optimistic.”
Wilkes said no plans have been made for a possible return spot for Neck ’n Neck.
“We’ve got him in light training now; he’s just jogging,” Wilkes said. “Nothing is planned yet. It’s going to be a long, slow process back.” 
In other activity at the Wilkes barn Thursday morning, Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) winner Fort Larned, a hopeful for the Stephen Foster Handicap Presented by Abu Dhabi (GI), breezed four furlongs in :48.80 on the fast main track.
Working under regular rider Brian Hernandez Jr., Fort Larned recorded fractions of :13, :25.80 and :37.80 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:01.80. 


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