Updated on 09/16/2011 7:58AM

Repent wins Louisiana Derby

Lou Hodges Jr.
Repent, Jerry Bailey up, defeats Easyfromthegitgo by a nose to win the $750,000 Grade II Louisiana Derby Sunday at Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans.

NEW ORLEANS - Repent overcame a slow pace, his own quirky behavior, and a tenacious bid from rival Easyfromthegitgo to win Sunday's , but the narrow margin of victory must have put a scare into those in the crowd of 5,104 who sent him off as the 2-5 favorite.

Repent, racing erratically in the middle of the track, and Easyfromthegitgo, running straight and true along the rail, hit the wire nearly simultaneously, with Repent winning by a nose. It'sallinthechase, at 52-1 the longest shot in the field, was 2 3/4 lengths back in third. Charioteer, Bob's Image, White Flame, and Publication completed the order of finish. French Assault was scratched on Saturday after developing a gastrointestinal disorder.

The Grade 2 Louisiana Derby was run on a clear, brisk afternoon, over a track that was fast despite a downpour that hit the track on Saturday afternoon. Repent covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.86, and paid $2.80 to win.

"He made the finish closer than I would like," said Jerry Bailey, who rode Repent in a race for the first time.

Repent got away in good order from post four in the seven-horse field. Bob's Image, who broke from the outside, veered in sharply at the start, colliding with White Flame. Bob's Image then moved up while four paths wide around the first turn to attend the early pace with Charioteer, who started from post three.

Bob's Image and Charioteer set a slow pace, with an opening quarter-mile in 24.23 seconds, and a half in :48.31. Midway through the race, Repent was in fifth place, a little more than two lengths behind the leaders, while racing between horses.

As the field moved around the far turn, Bailey began to ask Repent to advance, but he did not get an immediate response, and for a moment it appeared Repent was in trouble, as It'sallinthechase moved inside him and floated Repent wide.

"He doesn't have an instant response, which is something I learned from working him," Bailey said.

Repent eventually started to advance on the leaders, but, as in last month's Risen Star Stakes, he was racing on his wrong lead. Bailey stung Repent with a right-handed whip, and when Repent ducked to his inside, Bailey quickly switched hands with his whip and hit Repent left-handed. Finally, with about a sixteenth of a mile to go, Repent switched over to his proper lead, something he never did in the Risen Star. The late surge helped, because Easyfromthegitgo was right with Repent. Both Bailey, and Easyfromthegitgo's rider, Donnie Meche, each thought they had won.

"I think he gets so wrapped up in a race he doesn't change leads," Bailey said. "It was on my mind to get him to switch. It took me awhile, but I wanted to teach him. I could have let him race on his left lead, and he might have won by two, but I think he'll benefit down the line by what we did today."

Repent, a 3-year-old colt by Louis Quatorze out of Baby Grace, by Cipayo, has now won 5 of 7 starts, and the $450,000 first prize money increase his earnings to $955,660. He is owned by the Select Stable of owners Jerry and Feye(CQ) Bach, and is trained by Ken McPeek, who also teamed to win Saturday's Fair Grounds Oaks with Take Charge Lady.