02/20/2002 1:00AM

On second thought, no Dubai for Repent


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - It would have been exciting. It would have been a gallant undertaking.

Heck, it was fun just thinking about it.

But after a day or two of further consideration, * will not be going to Dubai for the $2 million United Arab Emirates Derby on March 23.

"The risk was too much," said Ken McPeek, who trains Repent, currently the consensus favorite for the May 4 Kentucky Derby.

After Repent won the Risen Star Stakes on Sunday at the Fair Grounds, McPeek said he would seriously consider the UAE Derby. But Wednesday, McPeek said he had had a lengthy conversation with fellow trainer Elliott Walden on the subject. Walden has run such horses as Victory Gallop, Ecton Park, and Bet Me Best in Dubai.

"There's that risk of knocking the horse out because of the long trip and the heat and other things," said McPeek. "Obviously that wouldn't be good when you're talking about six weeks before the Derby. I honestly believe we could have gone over there and won. But once you take everything into consideration, it just wasn't the thing to do."

Instead, McPeek will run Repent in either the March 10 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds or the March 23 Lane's End Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park.

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