07/07/2013 7:09PM

Monmouth Park: Micromanage overcomes wide trip to win Long Branch

William Osborn/Equi-Photo
Micromanage, with Joe Bravo aboard, won the Long Branch Stakes by 4 1/2 lengths Sunday for his first stakes victory.

Micromanage had to run farther than all eight of his rivals in Sunday’s $102,500 Long Branch Stakes at Monmouth Park but still managed to win with ease, surging clear down the stretch for a 4 1/2-length victory. The Medaglia d’Oro colt got his first stakes win and stamped himself as a contender for Monmouth’s biggest race, the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational on July 28.

Ridden by Joe Bravo, Micromanage broke a step slowly and was forced to go about six wide around the clubhouse turn before settling into eighth place. As Bob and the Gang led the field of 3-year-olds through a quarter-mile in 23.65 seconds, a half-mile in 47.78, and six furlongs in 1:12.75, Forever Thing and Micromanage began to advance steadily from the rear of the field.

Forever Thing, rallying from seventh place early, stuck his head in front as he exited the final turn but was quickly overtaken by Micromanage, who launched a three-wide bid on the outside and drew off down the lane, finishing the 1 1/16-mile race in 1:44.31.

“I’m not sure what really happened around the first turn,” Bravo said. “We were sitting off horses, and then we just ended up getting fanned out into the parking lot. After that, I thought the race was over.  But around the three-eighths pole, he really started picking it up. That was a pretty impressive performance considering the trouble he got in.”

Micromanage returned $6 as the favorite. Forever Thing was second, 3 1/2 lengths in front of Carve in third. They were followed by Stratocruiser, Keep the Canoli, Golden Jason, Dynamic Sky, Bob and the Gang, and Where’s Dominic.

Micromanage is trained by Todd Pletcher, who has another leading Haskell candidate in Verrazano, the winner of this year’s Wood Memorial at Aqueduct and Monmouth’s Grade 3 Pegasus Stakes last month.

Owned by the Repole Stable, Micromanage has won three of six starts and earned $176,200. He began his sophomore season with a win at Monmouth under Bravo in a $50,000 optional claimer in May. He then finished second to Power Broker in the $150,000 Easy Goer Stakes at Belmont Park on June 8.

If Micromanage does run in the Haskell, it would be his third start in a graded stakes race. As a juvenile last year, he was fifth in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont and last of 10 in the Grade 2 Remsen at Aqueduct.