05/16/2008 12:00AM

Repent enjoys success with second crop


Repent continues to make his mark as a prime-time stallion. The 9-year-old Repent was a good racehorse at 2 - good enough to win the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes and Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Juvenile, and finish second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

Repent stretched out as a 3-year-old, winning the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby and Grade 3 Risen Star Stakes, and finishing second in the Grade 1 Travers to Medaglia d'Oro. In all, he won $1.25 million, 5 of 10 starts, and placed four times. His was a middle-distance game.

Florida breeders usually seek speed in sire prospects. Louis Quatorze, sire of Repent, also showed more stamina than speed. His forte was more than a mile, and he won $2 million, including the Preakness and Grade 2 Jim Dandy. He ran second in the Breeders' Cup Classic.

The family of Repent has it roots in Europe by way of Argentina. The names read like Who's Who in the 1930s and 40s: Donatello, Djebel, Prince Bio, Owen Tudor - all horses who could stay 10 to 12 furlongs or more.

Repent is currently the leading second-crop sire in Florida, and he is ranked No. 8 overall in the United States. A horse with no speed, he is siring all sorts. Among his five stakes winners is Repenting, a 3-year-old gelding out of Cuscowilla, by Notebook. Bred by Tommy G. Ligon, the gelding was haltered out of his third start by Tampa Bay Downs leading trainer Jamie Ness. Repenting showed little running in a $50,000 maiden-claiming sprint, his debut, on Jan. 24. Two weeks later, he stretched out to a mile and 40 yards, flashed early speed, and stopped to a walk.

Ness took him for owner Balkrisna Sukharan for $25,000 in his third start. It was a six-furlong maiden-claiming sprint, and he won by 4 1/4 lengths on Feb. 28. Since that first victory, Repenting has been unbeatable, winning an allowance race at Tampa Bay Downs by 7 3/4 lengths and closing out the Tampa season with a 10 1/2-length win in the $75,000 Sophomore Stakes on April 5. Five weeks later on May 10, over the synthetic Tapeta track at Presque Isle Downs, Repenting won the $100,000 Tall Ships Stakes by 2 1/2 lengths over Pyrite Stable's Celtic Meal, a Florida-bred gelding by Formal Dinner.

Celtic Meal had won his only two sprints, and in his race before the Tall Ships had run six furlongs in 1:10.80, a fast time at Tampa Bay Downs.

Repent is an intriguing sire in that his offspring have shown an adaptability to all kinds of footing. Crown of Thorns is a 3-year-old son of Repent, and earlier in the season - on the trail to the Kentucky Derby - he won the Grade 2 Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita. Check It Twice and Atoned are stakes winners by Repent that had classic hopes.

Repent began his career at Clover Leaf II and upon Clover Leaf's closing moved to the Vinery, where he stands for $5,000 live foal. He is booked solid, according to Vinery stallion manager Declan Doyle, and the likelihood is that his fee will climb for next year.

State's broodmare population on decline

The broodmare population in Florida is declining. How great this decline is will not be known until various studies are completed in August. In 2007, there were 6,376 mares bred to 211 stallions.

"I think we're feeling the economic pinch," said Mike O'Farrell of Ocala Stud. "There are people who can't afford to be in breeding and are getting out of the business; this trend is not good."

Angelina Palacios, booking agent for Lambholm South near Ocala, was sure that the good numbers posted by the Lambholm first-crop stallion Alysweep at the recent 2-year-old sales - three of his offspring sold for an average of $53,333 - would generate some additional bookings.

"When I called several of those who bred to Alysweep in the past, they said that they were no longer in the breeding business," Palacios said.