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Neck ‘n Neck out with injury

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.

The inevitable valleys that often follow Thoroughbred racing’s peaks hit trainer Ian Wilkes this weekend as his graded stakes winner Neck ‘n Neck was declared out of Friday’s Grade I Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs after emerging from Sunday’s workout with a sesamoid fracture to his left front leg.

Wilkes, who saddled Fort Larned to victory in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita Park earlier this month, said Neck ‘n Neck looked well while breezing five furlongs in 1:02.80 at Churchill this Sunday but was discovered to be lame soon after. The 3-year-old son of Flower Alley will have surgery on Wednesday and be sidelined for at least six months, but Wilkes is hopeful the colt can make a comeback for 2013.

“He worked good, I thought man, we’re right on schedule, right where we want to be,” Wilkes said Tuesday morning. “He cooled out good but when his groom went to do him up he was lame, he was a little off. We x-rayed him and found the fracture. (Owner) Steven Miles is a player, he’s a sport so we’re going to take a shot and see if we can get him back.” 

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