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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

Motor City Off Derby Trail; Neck 'n Neck Could Stay

3/15/2012

Motor City, who finished eighth behind Trinniberg in last Saturday’s Grade II Swale Stakes, is off the road to the Kentucky Derby.

“He’s too far behind. He playing too much catch-up,’ trainer Ian Wilkes said. “He’s a good horse; he’s a gelding; he’s a fun horse; and the owners want to have some fun. He’s just playing too much catch-up and that wouldn’t be fair to him.”

Motor City established himself as an early prospect for the Derby when he captured the Grade III Iroquois at Churchill Downs in his final 2011 start.

Wilkes said he's taking a serious look at the Grade I Florida Derby for Neck 'n Neck next start. The son of Flower Alley finished a troubled fourth in the Grade II Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth. After bumping at the start, Neck ‘n Neck was steadied by Jose Lezcano while in traffic on the first turn.

“He makes a lot of mistakes, but he keeps on learning,” said Wilkes. “Once he eliminates his mistakes, we’ll find out how good he is.”

Neck ‘n Neck wore blinkers in the Fountain of Youth for the first time after finishing an erratic fifth in the Sam F. Davis Stakes. In his 2012 debut at Gulfstream on Jan. 7, he finished second behind Discreet Dancer in an allowance.

Asked if Neck ‘n Neck was ready to win the Florida Derby, Wilkes joked, “Yes, if you tie Union Rags’ legs together. He’s fine. It’s up him to him now to see where he belongs."

--Edited Gulfstream Park release

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