02/22/2002 12:00AM

Repent: Would-be king

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Repent won the Grade 3 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds on Sunday and increased support for himself as a candidate for the Kentucky Derby. Ashford Stud, which stands Repent's sire, Preakness winner Louis Quatorze, will doubtless be rooting for the colt, as well as last season's champion juvenile colt, Johannesburg, a son of Hennessy, if he starts in the Kentucky classic.

Another center of support for Repent will be Taylor Made Farm near Nicholasville, Ky., which has close ties to both Repent and Louis Quatorze. The Taylors foaled and raised Louis Quatorze for breeder and longtime Taylor Made client Georgia Hofmann. And they went one step further with Repent, breeding the colt themselves from the Argentine mare Baby Grace before selling him as a weanling.

Their association with this group of horses extended back another generation, as Frank Taylor recounted the acquisition of On to Royalty, the dam of Louis Quatorze and Grade 1 winner Royal Indy.

Taylor said, "We were selling On to Royalty for one of our clients, Bud Walker, and he didn't want to put any reserve on the mare. She was a nice mare, but when I went into the pavilion, the bidding wasn't going anywhere. So I bid on her myself and bought her for $200,000."

When Taylor went back outside and told his brother Duncan of the purchase, "He said, 'You better find someone to buy her, because we don't have that kind of money, so I had to practically beg Mrs. Hofmann, but she went ahead and bought her.

"The mare was in foal to Afleet, and the foal she was carrying ended up bringing $200,000 at the Keeneland July sale. So Mrs. Hofmann was essentially out on the mare with the one foal."

Getting one's money back on a single foal was possible back in the early 1990's, when the market was turning from stagnancy and decline into the strong auction climate that has characterized most of the last 10 years. Hofmann sold the mare's second foal for $120,000, but she declined to part with On to Royalty's third foal, the bay yearling colt later named Louis Quatorze.

Taylor said, "At Keeneland July, Mrs. Hofmann bought Louis Quatorze back for $225,000, and we put Bill Condren and Joe Cornacchia in as partners for about half that amount. Mrs. Hofmann ended up doing really well with this mare, since they got about $6 million for Louis Quatorze when he went to stud, and Royal Indy brought $1.65 million at Mrs. Hofmann's dispersal." In addition, Louis Quatorze earned more than $2 million during his racing career.

When the colt went to stud, Taylor Made came up with about the same offer to buy him as the Coolmore group, but "Ashford made the offer first and got the horse," Taylor said. "But he's a nice horse, and we sent some mares to him and have had some luck with him."

Breeding one of the Derby favorites is pretty good luck, and several other offspring of Louis Quatorze are showing considerable promise as they mature and begin to race over distances that suit them.

Taylor Made sent Baby Grace to Louis Quatorze because "we thought they complemented each other physically," Taylor said. "They're both good-looking horses, but the mare's really correct, and Louis Quatorze toes out a little bit."

The mating resulted in a good-sized, attractive colt whom Taylor Made sold for $60,000 at the Keeneland November sale in 1999. The buyer was Ron Blake, who said Repent was "a big, strong colt with a huge overstep on his walk. I have a couple of pinhooking partnerships, and I bought Repent for the Silesia partnership with Dr. Hartmut Malluche. He owns Silesia Farm on Shannon Run Road, and I lease it. We bought three that year, and Repent was the first horse he bought among that trio.

"Repent was a very good-looking colt, and I told Dr. Malluche that I didn't think we could afford him, but they were a little down on Louis Quatorze."

As a result, Blake and Malluche were able to get the handsome colt for a very reasonable price, and they resold him nine months later at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July sale of select yearlings. Repent brought $230,000 from trainer Ken McPeek for Select Stable.

Taylor Made still owns Baby Grace, a full sister to Group 1 winner Cacao, who won the Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini in Argentina, and the mare is in foal to Taylor Made stallion Storm Creek and is due in less than a month, Taylor said. She will be bred back to 2000 Horse of the Year Tiznow.