Motor City Won't Join Neck 'n Neck on Derby Trail
BOYNTON BEACH, FL - Motor City, who finished off the board behind speedy Trinniberg in last Saturday’s Swale (G2) at Gulfstream, won’t be put on 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 Iroquois (G3) at Churchill Downs in his final 2011 start.
Wilkes will take his time with Motor City, but he is taking a serious look at the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) on March 31 for Neck ‘n Neck’s next start. The son of Flower Alley finished a troubled fourth in the Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth (G2) on Feb. 26. After bumping at the start of the 1 1/16-mile stakes, Neck ‘n Neck had to be steadied by jockey Jose Lezcano while in traffic on the first turn.
“He makes a lot of mistakes, but he keeps on learning,” said Wilkes, whose colt broke his maiden at Churchill Downs last fall. “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 at Tampa Bay. In his 2012 debut at Gulfstream on Jan. 7, the son of Flower Alley finished second behind Discreet Dancer in an allowance.
Asked if Neck ‘n Neck was ready for the Florida Derby challenge, Wilkes joked “Yes, if you tie Union Rags’ legs together.”
Wilkes is looking for Neck ‘n Neck to decide his future in the Florida Derby.
“He’s fine. It’s up him to him now to see where he belongs,” Wilkes said.