By Jon Forbes | 09/01/2012 04:30 PM ET
On the final Saturday of the 2011 Saratoga Race Course meet, a 2-year-old colt named Alpha joined the New York Watch after posting a debut score in a seven-furlong maiden special weight, and 51 weeks later he was in Saratoga’s winner’s circle after dead heating for the win in the Grade 1 Travers.
This year, Micromanage, a Todd Pletcher trainee, posted a five-length debut win in a seven-furlong race on the last Saturday of the meet, and his owner, Mike Repole, hopes history will repeat.
“If we can duplicate Alpha’s career with this horse, I think I’d be pretty content,” said Repole, who won the 2011 Travers with Stay Thirsty.
In his debut, Micromanage raced in fifth under jockey Javier Castellano in the opening quarter mile, ranged up three wide to offer his bid on the turn, overtook favored Gulfport straightening for home, and steadily widened his advantage in the stretch. Apex overtook Gulfport late for second.
Micromanage, one of two first-time starters in the field of eight, completed the race in 1:23.01 and paid $13.60 for a $2 win wager as the 5-1 fourth choice.
“At the top of the stretch, [Micromanage] pulled along side [Gulfport], and I spoke to Javier and he said, ‘I could have gone by at any time.’ It was very, very impressive,” said Repole. “It was an 84 Beyer, but it was the way that he did it that was impressive. [Apex] lost to Palace Malice, who Todd is very high on. [Gulfport] had an 83 Beyer first out, and they paid $775,000 for him. Todd liked his other horse, [fourth-place finisher] El Duro. It was a tough seven-furlong race. This probably will be the last time he runs seven furlongs. He’ll be running a mile or more.”
Repole said what excites him the most about Micromanage’s performance is how he didn’t expect the colt to prevail going seven furlongs against the group he faced on Saturday.
“Todd said [Micromanage] was very steady in the morning,” said Repole. “I asked him what he felt about the horse, and he said, ‘It’s a tough race, very tough race.’ He said the horse was working well but probably will need a race and was more concerned about how the horse finished and galloped out.”
Repole added that Micromanage will now be pointed toward the Grade 1, $400,000 Foxwoods Champagne at one mile on October 6 at Belmont Park.
Micromanage is by Medaglia d’Oro, who the 2002 Grade 1 Travers before going on to sire 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, who won that year’s Grade 1 Preakness. His dam, Catnip, won a pair of minor stakes at 1 1/16 miles and has also produced Indescribable, who won a trio of Grade 3 races on the all-weather, captured a single Grade 3 on the turf, and was third in the Grade 1 Go for Wand Handicap on the dirt. Catnip is a half-sister to 1996 Belmont Stakes winner Editor’s Note and Europe’s 2002 Champion Two-Year-Old Colt Hold That Tiger.
Repole, upon the advice of advisers Jimmy Crupi and Ed Rosen, purchased Micromanage for $170,000 at last year’s Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
“If Jimmy Crupi loves the physical but Ed Rosen doesn’t love the pedigree, we’ll pass,” said Repole. “If Ed loves the pedigree but Jimmy doesn’t love the physical, we’ll pass. The most we’ve ever paid for a horse is $500,000, and it turned out to be Stay Thirsty. Uncle Mo cost $220,000. Overanalyze cost $380,000. Micromanage cost $170,000. I see people who spend a million or two or three on a yearling, but I’d rather spend between $200,000 and $300,000 and play at that level and have 20 horses instead of one horse. I’d rather have 20 horses and worry about 80 legs than to have one horse and worry about four legs.”