08/26/2005 12:00AM

Network will try Pa. Derby


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Owner-trainer Eddie Broome will pass the easier pickings in Sunday's Choice Stakes at Monmouth with Network and take a bigger swing in the Grade 2, $750,000 Pennsylvania Derby on Labor Day at Philadelphia Park.

"I am going for the big money," Broome said. "Every time we've asked him, he's stepped up and done what he had to do."

Broome said he hopes to have Joe Bravo aboard. Monmouth's leading rider, Bravo is still recovering from a broken collarbone suffered last month and has targeted the holiday weekend for his comeback.

Broome said he wants to see how Network stacks up against graded company, and also voiced concern about running over the chewed-up Monmouth turf course, which will be replaced in September.

"I don't know if I'd want to run over that course right now," Broome said. "To run an older horse is one thing. A younger horse that you value and who has a nice future, well, right now I'm not inclined to run over this turf course."

Network, a $62,500 Broome claim from Bill Mott at Gulfstream Park in January, has won four straight, including the Lamplighter Stakes on the turf on the Haskell Day undercard.

Park Avenue Ball out with fever

Park Avenue Ball, third-place finisher in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational, will miss the Pennsylvania Derby after running a slight temperature.

"He came down with a little infection after the Haskell," said trainer Jim Ryerson. "It lingered a little too long. We had some sick horses in the barn. He didn't get real sick. He shook it off, but I think it would be a rush to try and get him ready."

Park Avenue Ball is already in light training, and Ryerson said he will "look at other options that allow him a little more time to get over it."

One race Ryerson is considering is the Grade 3, $250,000 Pegasus Stakes for 3-year-olds on Sept. 30, opening night of The Meadowlands Racetrack meet.

Choice looks wide open

The $60,000 Choice Stakes, the supporting event to the Iselin Handicap on Sunday, looks like a highly competitive field even if two of its contenders run elsewhere.

Holy Ground and New Jersey Derby winner Touched by Madness are both in the lineup for the Choice, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for 3-year-olds, but both are cross entered in the $50,000 Stanton Stakes on Saturday at Delaware Park. Even without those two, the Choice will be an interesting contest.

"There is probably not a lot between the top four or five horses," said trainer Colin Sherwood, who sends out Lightning Power. "There probably won't be much between them at the finish. There never is on the turf."

Classic Campaign is one of those horses usually right there at the wire. Trained by Mott, Classic Campaign missed by only one length in the Sir Cat Stakes at Saratoga last time out. Back in June, he missed taking the Grade 3 Hill Prince Stakes at Belmont Park by only a neck.

Serey wins two in a day

Trainer Juan Serey won two races Thursday for the first multiple-win day of his comeback, which began in July. There could be more to come.

"I was not disappointed, because I knew what kind of horses I had," Serey said. "I worked hard and tried my best. I have a lot of faith in me. I'm pretty sure the next 30 days are going to be okay."

Serey returned to training in July after missing several years because of a financial dispute with his brother that led to the suspension of his license. Serey started back at Monmouth, where he had won five consecutive titles starting in 1995.

Some old clients sent Serey horses, most of them reclamation projects. Not surprisingly, wins were scarce. Serey was 1 for 29 before Thursday.

Serey finally has the horses in the right spots, with many now dropping to more realistic levels. He is still searching for fresh stock and is very enthusiastic about recent addition Jim West from Chile.

"He's going to be a nice horse," Serey said. "We'll have him ready for The Meadowlands. I'm working to get better horses together so I can go to New York this winter."