03/27/2014 11:22AM

Gulfstream Park: Micromanage starts wide in Skip Away

William Osborn/Equi-Photo
Micromanage will break from the outside Saturday in the $100,000 Skip Away at Gulfstream Park.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Trainer Todd Pletcher said drawing the rail was not exactly where he wanted to be with Micromanage for his 2014 debut in the Grade 3 Mineshaft Handicap last month at Fair Grounds. On Saturday, Micromanage will go to the other extreme, breaking from the outside in a field of 11 older horses set to go 1 3/16 miles in the $100,000 Skip Away at Gulfstream Park.

Micromanage finished seventh after being pinned down along the rail most of the way under jockey Mike Smith in the 1 1/16-mile Mineshaft. The race snapped a string of three consecutive stakes placings for the son of Medaglia d’Oro, a run that included a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Discovery Handicap. Micromanage, who became Grade 1 placed with a distant third behind stablemate Verrazano last summer in the Haskell, will race with blinkers for the first time in the Grade 3 Skip Away with Javier Castellano to ride.

“Mike thought he didn’t like being stuck down along the inside at the Fair Grounds. Now, we go from one extreme to the other, and I’m not crazy about starting way out there on Saturday,” Pletcher said. “Mike said, ‘Believe me, he really ran great.’ He never tried until he finally got him out, which wasn’t until 50 yards before the wire, and then he finished well and galloped out well. It’s one of those things if you didn’t hear Mike’s comments, you wouldn’t think he ran much, and I really believe the extra distance here will help him. I think he wants to run all day. Hopefully the blinkers will have him a little more focused, and he’ll be able to get into a really good spot going into the first turn.”

Micromanage will carry 119 pounds under the allowance conditions of the Skip Away, four fewer than highweights Csaba and Nikki’s Sandcastle.

[DRF Live: Get live reports and handicapping insights from DRF writers and handicappers this Saturday]

Csaba also is cross-entered in the Grade 3 Appleton, where he’ll start should that race come off the turf. He returns to the main track after finishing a tiring eighth against high-level optional-claiming company on the grass here earlier this month. Csaba is trying to regain the form that saw him win the Grade 3 Fred Hooper Jr. Handicap at Calder and finish second in the Harlan’s Holiday to close out his 2013 campaign.

Nikki’s Sandcastle will try dirt for the first time since August 2012 and is coming off a fifth-place finish in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap. He won the Grade 2 Fayette over the Polytrack at Keeneland in his 2013 finale.

Salustio, a Group 1 winner in Panama at 3; War Dancer, a Grade 2 winner on grass last season; the speedy Nevada Kid, and Norumbega also are key contenders in the well-matched Skip Away lineup.

Sir Shakleton: Ribo Bobo on a roll

Win machine Ribo Bobo will be heavily favored to register his 13th victory in his last 14 starts in the $100,000 Sir Shackleton. The former $6,250 claimer has already posted three victories here this winter, including both the Sunshine Millions Sprint and Caixa Eletronica overnight stakes. Ribo Bobo will stretch out to 6 1/2 furlongs for the first time since winning a low-level starter allowance race last April at Calder.

“Ideally, I’d like a couple of more weeks, but he’s done really well since winning his last start, and he really loves this track and going six and one-half furlongs really isn’t a concern,” said Jason Servis, who trains Ribo Bobo for the Mr. Amore Stable. “It took a while for it to sink in what a special horse he was, but after his last couple of wins, I started thinking I may never get a horse like him again.”

[Clocker Reports: Get Mike Welsch’s clocker reports from Gulfstream Park and Palm Meadows]

Both Happy My Way and Dad’z Laugh will try to reverse second-place finishes at the hands of Ribo Bobo earlier in the meet. Happy My Way was beaten by less than two lengths when runner-up in the Sunshine Millions Sprint, while Dad’z Laugh finished just a half-length behind Ribo Bobo when second best in the Caixa Eletronica.