01/23/2002 12:00AM

Repent may be bound for Risen Star


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Repent, the runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and one of the East Coast's top Kentucky Derby hopefuls, will likely make his 3-year-old debut in the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds on Feb. 17, trainer Ken McPeek said Wednesday.

"If I had to choose today, I'd say the Risen Star," said McPeek, who trains Repent for Jerry and Feye Bach's Select Stable. "We think his style will really suit that racetrack and I don't have to run him against his stablemate. I'm leaning toward that race."

The stablemate to whom McPeek was referring is Harlan's Holiday, the runner-up in last Saturday's Holy Bull Stakes who is being pointed to the Fountain of Youth here on Feb. 16. McPeek said one factor that may keep him from sending Repent to the Risen Star is travel arrangements.

"It might depend on whether it's easy to transport him over there," McPeek said. "He'll definitely fly, he won't van. If we couldn't get a flight over there it might force me to run here."

McPeek said Repent, who won the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill on Nov. 24, will do the bulk of his training here before being shipped to New Orleans. Repent has had a couple of workouts since coming to Florida and was scheduled to breeze again on Friday.

Harlan's Holiday: Blinkers off

McPeek said he will take the blinkers off Harlan's Holiday for the Fountain of Youth. McPeek wanted to remove the blinkers for Saturday's Holy Bull, but the Gulfstream stewards would not permit him to do so because the horse was coming off a winning performance.

Harlan's Holiday had worn blinkers in all six of his starts as a 2-year-old, but McPeek said he doesn't believe the colt needs them anymore.

"He's relaxing a lot with them off, he works a lot more controlled with them off," McPeek said. "To go a mile and an eighth, mile and a quarter, he needs to get the blinkers off."

Harlan's Holiday returned to the track Wednesday morning for the first time since the Holy Bull and trained well, according to McPeek.

On Wednesday, McPeek sent out Take Charge Lady - last year's Alcibiades winner - for a five-furlong move in 1:01.60. She is preparing for the Davona Dale Stakes Feb. 24.

Kiss a Native to prep on grass

Trainer Bill White believes Kiss a Native needs one more race before running in the Donn Handicap, which is why he plans to run him in Saturday's $100,000 Ft. Lauderdale Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on the turf. The $500,000, Grade 1 Donn will be run on Feb. 9.

In his 18-race career, Kiss a Native has run just once on the turf, winning the $97,000 Charlie Barley Handicap at Woodbine last June. Since then, he has won five of his last 11 starts, including the Grade 2 Pegasus Handicap last fall and the Grade 3 Fred Hooper in his last start.

"We definitely want to get a race in Kiss a Native between the Fred Hooper and the Donn," White said. "With the timing, we felt this race is our only opportunity to get a race in him. We're banking on his success in his only start on turf. We do go into this race with the expectations of trying to win it, but our main objective is to run him in this race and then the Donn."

White said he opted not to run Kiss a Native in the Skip Away Handicap on Jan. 12 because it would have meant running Kiss a Native three times in four weeks.

White said Cornelio Velasquez will ride Kiss a Native on Saturday and in the Donn.

White said that between the Fort Lauderdale and the Donn, he would ship the Calder-based Kiss a Native to Gulfstream to get a work over the dirt track. White has noticed that, unlike past years, Calder-based horses have needed a race or work over the track to be ready to win on the deep Gulfstream surface.

To that end, White shipped Blissful Kiss over to Gulfstream Wednesday for a half-mile breeze in 49 seconds in preparation for Sunday's Forward Gal Stakes. "She handled the track real good, and came back real good," White said.

The Forward Gal will be the first race for Blissful Kiss since Nov. 24, when she finished fourth in the Grade 2 Demoiselle at Aqueduct.

Ms Brookski in Herecomesthebride

Like her Calder-based colleague Blissful Kiss, Ms Brookski took the short van ride across town to work here Wednesday, going five furlongs on the turf in 1:05 with Jorge Chavez aboard. The work was in preparation for her Gulfstream debut in the Herecomesthebride Stakes on the turf Feb. 3.

Trainer Reed Combest has been frustrated in his attempts to get a line on Ms Brookski's ability to handle the turf. In her grass debut, Ms Brookski clipped heels leaving the gate and finished a game but well-beaten fourth behind August Storm in Calder's Lulu's Ransom Stakes. A scheduled rematch with August Storm in the Tropical Oaks failed to materialize when the race was switched from the turf to the main track because of overnight rains.

Ms Brookski won four of nine starts, including the Brave Raj and Three Rings Stakes at 2, and was considered among the top juvenile fillies to run at Calder last season.

Phil Combest, who assists his father and is the principal owner of Ms Brookski, said he was pleased with the way his filly handled the Gulfstream turf Wednesday. He also said that Chavez will ride Ms Brookski for the first time in the Herecomesthebride.

Red Bullet breezes for Donn

Red Bullet, the runner-up in the Skip Away, breezed five furlongs in 1:03 on Wednesday as he prepares for the Donn. Jerry Bailey, who rode Red Bullet in the Skip Away but who is expected to ride Lido Palace in the Donn, was aboard for the move.

"He breezed 10 days after the race and he hasn't been on that schedule in a while," Orseno said. "It was just a maintenance move; the track was deep, there was no racing yesterday. He came back good and looks good."

Orseno has not yet made arrangements for a rider for Red Bullet.

Dance Note: All's well that ends well

Trainer John Ward said that his 3-year-old colt Dance Note came back fine after giving railbirds a show and his connections a scare during training hours Monday.

Dance Note went to the track with Chavez aboard for a five-furlong breeze. Moments after leaving the pony Dance Note tossed his head, gave Chavez the slip, and spent the next five minutes eluding capture while circling the track the wrong way at a pace that might have earned him black letters on the morning work tab. He eventually ducked out the five furlong gap, jumped some hedges, and managed to slip through a narrow opening before his odyssey ended on the road in the horseman's parking lot.

"He was supposed to blow out five furlongs in preparation for his next start on the turf," Ward said. "But after going about three and a half miles . . . I don't think I need to work him now, or worry that he might not be fit enough. He'll be able to make his next start as scheduled."

- additional reporting by Mike Welsch