Repent, who is expected to be heavily favored in next Saturday's $500,000 Illinois Derby, tuned up for the 1 1/8-mile race with a sharp six-furlong work in 1:12 4/5 at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
Jockey Jerry Bailey, broke the son of Louis Quatorze off at the 5 1/2-furlong pole and worked him a sixteenth of a mile past the wire. "He went super and galloped out strong," trainer Kenny McPeek said. "We wanted Jerry to work on his lead changes and he switched beautifully. I think the last two races were an aberration. He's never had any problems changing in the past. I think Jerry just had to get to know him. He rode him aggressively in the Louisiana Derby, and he doesn't like to be ridden that way. It's going to take a very good horse to beat him in the next two races. I'm not looking for a gut-wrencher in the Illinois Derby, as we have to save his best for May 4. Right now, I feel with both him and Harlan's Holiday, we have dead aim at the Derby."
As for taking an unconventional route to the Derby, McPeek said, "I don't care about that. My goal is to have him at 110 percent on Derby Day, and he's a better horse with four weeks between races."
McPeek also would like to see the owners of Take Charge Lady supplement her to the Triple Crown, although it would be strictly as a back-up. As of now, Take Charge Lady definitely is pointing for the Ashland Stakes at Keeneland, then likely the Kentucky Oaks. But there is always the Preakness, just in case.
In the Illinois Derby, Repent is expected to face Changeintheweather, Publication, and War Emblem, among others. If he should win, it would make him eligible for two $1 million bonuses –- one for winning the Illinois Derby and any Triple Crown race and one for winning the Louisiana and Kentucky Derbys.