08/08/2012 5:17PM

Saratoga: Wilkes shooting for Whitney-Travers parlay

Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography
Neck 'n Neck won the Matt Winn and ran second in the Jim Dandy.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Trainer Ian Wilkes will attempt to complete a rare and very prestigious double, winning both the Grade 1 Whitney and Travers during the same meet, when he sends out Neck ’ n Neck in the Grade 1 Travers on Aug. 25.

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Wilkes is already halfway home after his Fort Larned upset the Whitney here last weekend. The steadily improving Neck ’ n Neck figures to be among the favorites in the Travers off his second-place finish behind Alpha in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy earlier in the session.

Neck ’n Neck worked for the first time since the Jim Dandy over the main track on Wednesday morning, breezing an easy half-mile in 48.47 seconds, completing his final quarter in 23 seconds and change before galloping out five-eighths in 1:01.53 and pulling up six furlongs in 1:14.99.

“Just a maintenance work this morning, let him stretch his legs a little today, and I was happy with him,” said Wilkes. “He keeps getting better and better, which he’ll need to for the next one.”

Wilkes said pulling off the Whitney-Travers double would be very special.

“I don’t know how many times it’s been done, if ever, but it would mean an awful lot to me to be able to accomplish something like that here this summer,” said Wilkes.

Ronnie Malo Rodriguez More than 1 year ago
Neck n Neck poised to win the Travers, even more if Hansen is entered.
Amy Hurley More than 1 year ago
So, the obvious question is, has the Whitney-Travers double ever been pulled off by a trainer? And how many Travers winners have come back to win the Whitney in subsequent years? Could we have a little research and answer to this?
marc More than 1 year ago
It's been done in 1939, 1972, 1978, 1987, and 1989 but they were all 3 year olds that won the Whitney AND the Travers. It's never been done with 2 different horses as far as I see.
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Ian Wilkes is a fine horseman indeed. I do feel the need to comment on the biased opinion of posters here though. Anytime a trainer from the east is mentioned (with the exception of Rick Dutrow) they are always praised,but when trainers from the west are mentioned they are called cheats and accused of all kinds of secret activities(i.e. Baffert, Oneill..etc.)It really does shed a dim light on the intelligence of the comments.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
If that directed @ me, I comment objectively. I don't care for any trainer who over medicates to speed up rehabilitation or who blatently drugs to mask pain. Dutrow and O'Neil are as similar. As are Baffert and Pletcher. The first 2 have positives for pain meds. The 2nd two use a lot of therapeutic remedies rather than time and natural healing. To me, it's all detrimental to the horse.
Tiny Montgomery More than 1 year ago
LOL you are an eastern zealot, you always make tendentious comments.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Sorry. But I lean towards praising horseman for their success. Not a bunch of people who are systematically ruining this sport. I follow east coast trainers as I am here. But make no mistake, there are more regulations here and better people involved. Focus on the facts Tiny rather than bashing me. You lose that battle every time.
Dan Cronin More than 1 year ago
What about Sadler he runs horses 3 times a yr after he can fill them with all kinds of stuff then get it to cycle out, look at his barn his horses never run its sad.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Very nice colt who is more than capable of winning The Travers. He ran agood second to Alpha on a sloppy track in The Jim Dandy. His two prior to that were 100+ beyer victories. And his trainer doing right by the colt. Good horseman and a talented colt.
David Marro More than 1 year ago
He is a good horseman and no surprise at that considering who he worked for previously. The barn is a class act and easy to root for.