02/26/2003 1:00AM

Repent's comeback ends


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Repent, one of the top 3-year-olds of 2002, has been retired because of a tendon injury that has been slow to heal, trainer Ken McPeek said Tuesday.

McPeek said he believes Repent first strained the tendon in his left foreleg in last year's Jockey Club Gold Cup, a race in which Repent finished seventh as the favorite. The injury knocked him out of the Breeders' Cup Classic.

Repent had resumed training at Gulfstream Park this winter with the Dubai World Cup as an early- season goal. But McPeek said the tendon had not healed sufficiently.

"The tendon's not responding well," McPeek said. "There's no sense bringing him back."

McPeek said owners Jerry and Feye Bach of Select Stable are in negotiations to sell Repent as a stallion who could stand in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres.

Repent, a son of 1996 Preakness winner Louis Quatorze, retires with 5 wins, 3 seconds, and 1 third from 10 starts and earnings of $1,255,660.

At 2, Repent won the Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Juvenile and the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes and was second to Johannesburg in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. At 3, Repent was the early-season Kentucky Derby favorite by virtue of victories in the Risen Star Stakes and Louisiana Derby. Repent came out of a second-place finish to War Emblem in the Illinois Derby with an ankle chip that kept him out of the spring classics.