Updated on 09/15/2011 1:31PM

Repent escapes trouble, wins KJC

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Call it a harrowing experience, or call it a learning experience.

Whatever it was, the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes* (click here for chart) resulted in a difficult but well-earned victory Saturday for heavily favored Repent, who fought his way through one trouble spot after another to win the Grade 2 race by 1 1/4 lengths. He returned $3.60 to win.

"I don't have that much hair left," said Repent's mostly bald trainer, Ken McPeek.

Repent, owned by the Select Stable of Jerry and Feye Bach, was a close fifth down the backstretch in the $217,000 KJC Stakes, the highlight of the closing program of the 24-day Churchill fall meet. Instead of looping the four horses ahead of him, jockey Tony D'Amico decided to begin saving ground, and that's where the trouble began.

Repent, who finished second to Johannesburg in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile in his previous start, was checked approaching the half-mile pole, then continued to weave in and out of heavy traffic before finally getting clear near the rail with 100 yards to go. From there, he edged away.

"I was worried at the half-mile pole, the three-eighths pole, the eighth pole and the sixteenth pole," said a smiling McPeek.

Request for Parole, the 7-2 third choice, finished second, a neck before High Star in a field of six 2-year-old colts. Sky Terrace, the 3-1 second choice, was another length back in fourth after setting most of the pace.

Repent will be given time off before going to Florida, where the Bachs and McPeek hope the colt will earn a start in the 128th Kentucky Derby next May.

"At least this showed that he can handle everything thrown at him," said McPeek. "That's exactly the kind of trip you can expect in the Derby and some of the races leading up to it."

Victory in the 75th KJC Stakes was the third in five starts overall for Repent, a Kentucky-bred by Louis Quatorze. He ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.42 over a sloppy track.

Earlier Saturday:

* Belterra, the early trailer in a field of five 2-year-old fillies, drew off to an impressive score in the KJC's sister race, the $215,200 Golden Rod Stakes, also a Grade 2 at 1 1/16 miles.

The 4 1/2-length victory kept Belterra unbeaten in three starts. "She's a pretty nice filly," said a gleeful Ian Wilkes, who saddled the Unbridled filly in the absence of his boss, trainer Carl Nafzger.

Belterra, ridden by Jon Court, returned $4.40 and ran the distance in 1:43.82. Take Charge Lady, the second-place finisher, was a very slight favorite, also sent away at 6-5. Lotta Rhythm was third, beaten only a nose by Take Charge Lady for second.

Belterra, owned by Bob Manfuso, will soon head to Florida for her

3-year-old campaign.

* Bet On Sunshine ($5.60), the Midwest sprint standout, easily won the 10th race, the first two-turn race of his career. Ridden by Calvin Borel, the 9-year-old gelding drew off in the 1 1/16-mile, $51,230 allowance by

7 1/4 lengths for his 22nd victory in 43 lifetime starts.

* A Storm Is Brewing ($5.60) won the last of three legs in the Trails End series for starter-allowance marathoners, drawing off to win the second race, a two-mile jaunt, under Robby Albarado.

A Storm Is Brewing also won the middle leg of the series, at

1 1/2 miles, for trainer Jere R. Smith Jr.

* Pat Day, Steve Asmussen, and Ken and Sarah Ramsey were, respectively, the leading jockey, trainer, and owner at the meet. The title was the 32nd at Churchill for Day, the first for Asmussen, and the fourth straight won outright or shared by the Ramseys.

Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes Chart*

* Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.