Neck ‘N Neck entered the Indiana Derby with only one graded stakes victory in twelve starts. That win came back in June at the Matt Winn Stakes with jockey Leonardo Goncalves aboard. Saturday, the Ian Wilkes trained colt was ridden by Brian Hernandez, and went out of the gate as the third favorite.
Bob Baffert’s Fed Biz was the favorite going in at 6-5 and got off to a nice start, leading most of the way. Neck ‘N Neck trailed the leaders by several lengths for much of the race but as they started into the turn for home he rallied up to make it a contest. As some of the field faded, including Steve Asmussen’s Tritap, Neck ‘N Neck moved into the lead and Bourbon Courage staged a late surge, but couldn’t make up the ground. Neck ‘N Neck took home the win with Bourbon Courage beating out Fed Biz by a head followed by long shot Afford and Tritap.
Saturday had a double dose of excitement for Hernandez, as he took home two grade I stakes wins on the day. In addition to winning the Indiana Derby, his afternoon was capped off by taking the Indiana Oaks also. For the Oaks he was riding the favorite, Grace Hall, a filly that already had three graded stakes wins under her belt. To take the Oaks, Grace Hall beat out Wine Princess and the fast filly trained by Baffert, Eden’s Moon.
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