01/14/2002 1:00AM

McPeek Derby duo on separate paths


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Harlan's Holiday and Repent, who are on different schedules but have the same ultimate goal in mind, the Kentucky Derby, both worked here Sunday, much to the satisfaction of trainer Ken McPeek.

Harlan's Holiday went five furlongs in 59.40 seconds with jockey Tony D'Amico aboard in his final major prep for Saturday's $100,000 Holy Bull Stakes, the first major race for 3-year-olds at the meet. Breeders' Cup Juvenile runner-up Repent went an easy three furlongs in 36.20 seconds, as he continues to prepare for his 3-year-old debut, which may come a bit sooner than originally expected.

Harlan's Holiday, whose only setback in his last five starts came against Siphonic in the Lane's End Breeders' Futurity, will be the likely favorite in the 1 1/16-mile Holy Bull.

"He did all we asked of him in his work yesterday," McPeek said Monday morning. "We had him sit a couple of lengths off another horse and he just drew away through the stretch. He's been working in blinkers most of the year but I took them off him yesterday to teach him to rate. He needs to lay off the pace and kick from there. That's all we want him to do Saturday, although the way he worked I'd have to think he's going into the Holy Bull at 100 percent and can win it if things go his way."

While Harlan's Holiday is on a course that will take him from the Holy Bull to the Fountain of Youth and then to the $1 million Florida Derby on March 16, Repent's itinerary is not as clear cut at this time. Originally, McPeek talked about giving him only two starts before the Kentucky Derby, but says that the way Repent is progressing now, he might change those plans.

"There's a chance he could be ready to run in February, even make the Fountain of Youth or Risen Star at the Fair Grounds," said McPeek. "It all depends on how he does over the next few weeks. He had the time off, came back strong and has been getting bored recently so I needed to do a little something with him. He has the graded money in his pocket so it gives us the luxury of being as relaxed as we want with his program leading up to the Derby."

Nokoma's Holy Bull status is iffy

Harlan's Holiday's main rival in the Holy Bull figures to be Nokoma - if trainer Todd Pletcher chooses to run his lightly raced but promising colt in the Grade 3 event.

* worked six furlongs in 1:14.80 on Sunday, and while very pleased with the work, Pletcher said he has not committed to the Holy Bull just yet.

"I'm not absolutely positive he'll run in the Holy Bull," Pletcher said Monday. "I don't want him to have a gut-wrencher this early in the season. The best thing about the Holy Bull is the progression to the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby with four weeks between the races - although there are plenty of one-other-than's around here if I decide to pass. My biggest concern is that he continues to move forward with every race."

Pletcher said he has also not selected a rider should he opt to run Nokoma in the Holy Bull. John Velazquez has ridden Nokoma in each of his last two starts but appears committed to Saarland for the Fountain of Youth.

"I'm not concerned about a rider," said Pletcher. "If he runs well the next time and John decides to ride Saarland in the Fountain of Youth there will be plenty of good riders available for my horse."

Pletcher said both Velazquez and Pat Day are under consideration for the Holy Bull.

Pletcher also worked his handicap star Graeme Hall five furlongs in 1:02.40 on Sunday as he continues to prepare for his 2002 debut slated to come in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap on Feb. 9.

Beaten Red Bullet still Donn-bound

Trainer Joe Orseno said Red Bullet came out of Saturday's runner-up finish in the Skip Away Handicap in good shape and will continue to be pointed for the Donn.

"Physically, he came out of the Skip Away well and that was my main concern," said Orseno. "Naturally, we would liked to have won the race, but the key is that he got a lot out of it and moves forward off the race."

Ubiquity pointed to Donn

Trainer James Bond called on previous experience when he decided to keep Ubiquity out of Saturday's $100,000 Skip Away. Bond felt he hurt Pleasant Breeze's chances in last year's Gulfstream Park Handicap by running him in the Skip Away, in which he finished third.

Bond said he would train Ubiquity up to the Grade 1 Donn Handicap on Feb. 9. On Saturday, Ubiquity breezed six furlongs in 1:16 at Payson Park.

"I kind of flattened out Pleasant Breeze running him in the Skip Away and coming back in the Donn," Bond said. "I decided not to do that with this horse. I'll try running him fresh."

Ubiquity has not been out since upsetting the field in the Grade 2 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs last November. Since then, Ubiquity - along with several other Gary West-owned horses - were transferred from Bill Mott to Bond.

Speaking of Pleasant Breeze, Bond said he continues to train well and may be pointed to the Gulfstream Park Handicap, a race that he finished second in a year ago.

Meanwhile, Bond is mulling his options for Legislator, a son of Royal Academy who won here last week at first asking, covering 1 1/16 miles on the turf in 1:47.05. Bond said he would most likely look for an entry-level allowance race for Legislator, but is not sure what surface it will be on.

"I think he'll dirt too, but he's got such a great turf pedigree," Bond said. "People don't realize that his dam is a half-sister to Hot Novel, who produced Behrens. He's got enough pedigree to be something. Hopefully, he's what we think he is."

Bond said Transcendental, who bled while finishing fourth in last year's Cotillion Handicap at Philadelphia Park, will be pointed to the Sabin Handicap here Feb. 8. Musical, last seen finishing ninth in an October allowance race at Belmont Park, is being pointed to the De la Rose Handicap here Jan. 25.

Last Saturday, at Payson Park, Transcendental breezed five furlongs in 1:01.80, while Musical covered the same distance in 1:02.40.

Ruff settles for a workout

Ruff, whose 2002 debut was delayed when she did not draw in off the also-eligible list for Sunday's ninth race, had to settle for working five furlongs in 1:03.40 over the main track Monday.

"It would have been nice to run her but all it does is move us back a bit," said trainer David Donk. "There's another allowance race for her in a couple of weeks and she'll have to get in that one."

Ruff, a two time stakes winner, was returned to training late last season after undergoing laser surgery to repair a partially paralyzed throat.

* After winning Monday's fourth race aboard Early Report ($5.60), jockey Mark Guidry took off his final four mounts on the card because he was sick.

- additional reporting by David Grening