Neck ‘n Neck, patiently handled while breaking from post eleven under Brian Hernandez Jr., rallied from 10th place to land the Grade II Indiana Derby at Hoosier Park on Saturday.
The Ian Wilkes trainee clearly enjoys a mile and a sixteenth, and his fondness for Churchill Downs is well documented, so he could end up under the Twin Spires next.
Super Derby hero Bourbon Courage was up for the place and beaten favorite Fed Biz checked in a respectable 3rd.
Gemologist has been retired to WinStar Farm and is one of several high profile sophomores to hit the breeding shed much too early.
Since my last report, Paynter had surgery to remove a growth from his intestines and is on the road to recovery.
Jarrod Horak’s Top Ten Active 3-Year-olds
1. Alpha (Bernardini) – Jim Dandy/Travers hero finished a flat 6th in the PA Derby. He is currently gearing up for the BC Classic, most recently breezing 4f in :48.40 (3/4) at Greentree Training Center on 10-5.
2. Paynter (Awesome Again) – Gave Union Rags a run for his money in the Test of Champions and looked great capturing his first graded stakes in the Haskell. He is recovering from recent intestinal surgery and hopefully all of his recent health issues are behind him.
3. Nonios (Pleasantly Perfect) – Haskell place finisher ended up 5th in the Travers. He was clearly second best behind likely BC Classic favorite Game On Dude in the G1 Awesome Again at Santa Anita on Sept 29. Worked 4f in :47.60 (3/55) at Hollywood Park on 10-6.
4. Dullahan (Even The Score) – Ran his Polytrack record to a perfect 3-for-3 in the Pacific Classic but never picked up his feet in the grassy G1 Jamaica. The BC Turf or Classic is next.
5. Neck ‘n Neck (Flower Alley) – Rallied from the back of the pack (post 11) to gamely capture the G2 Indiana Derby (95 BSF). He will probably show up next in a stakes race at Churchill Downs.
6. Bourbon Courage (Lion Heart) – He put together a trio of strong efforts in the G2 West Va. Derby (2nd), G2 Super Derby (1st), and G2 Indiana Derby (2nd).
7. Fed Biz (Giant’s Causeway) – Baffert’s highly regarded colt returned in the pink at Del Mar (El Cajon Stakes) on Aug 31 and just finished a close-up 3rd in the Indiana Derby on Oct 6.
8. Jimmy Creed (Distorted Humor) – Gave Fed Biz everything he could handle in El Cajon and Mandella’s $900k purchase rallied for the show vs. salty older sprinters in G1 SA Sprint Championship on 10-6. The BC Sprint might be next.
9. Unbridled’s Note (Unbridled’s Song) – Unlucky G1 King’s Bishop show finisher probably would have won that heat with clear sailing. Asmussen trainee switched to turf and smartly nabbed the G3 Eddie D (92 BSF) over Santa Anita’s downhill course on Sept 28. The BC Turf Sprint is probably next. Worked 4f in :50.40 (35/44) at Santa Anita on 10-8.
10. Summer Front (War Front) – Lost for first time on turf in G1 Secretariat but was hardly disgraced in show finish. He was 3rd again in the G1 Jamaica and could have won that one with clear sailing.