07/06/2006 11:00PM

Premium Tap stuns Sun King

Adam Coglianese / NYRA
Premium Tap, jockey Edgar Prado up, scores a 3 1/4-length upset win over 1-5 shot Sun King in Friday's Albert the Great Stakes at Belmont.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Sun King's seemingly easy prep for next month's Grade 1 Whitney Handicap turned out not to be so easy after all.

Premium Tap, a late-developing 4-year-old son of Pleasant Tap, may have earned himself a berth in the $750,000 Whitney Handicap with a decisive 3 1/4-length victory over 1-5 favorite Sun King in Friday's $67,200 Albert the Great Stakes at Belmont Park. Kennel Up finished third, followed by Chowder's First. Sinister G and Lieutenant Danz scratched.

Premium Tap gave John Kimmel the 1,000th victory of his training career.

"This will be one I certainly remember, that's for sure,'' Kimmel, 52, said. "You beat a 1-5 shot, a $1.7 million earner, and do it the way he did it - like a racehorse - that's a good one to put in the kitty.''

Premium Tap, under Edgar Prado, stalked Kennel Up for 5 1/2 furlongs before taking command at the five-sixteenths pole. Sun King, who was 7 1/2 lengths off the pace after an opening half-mile run in 46.74 seconds, made a mild rally to be second under Garrett Gomez. Rafael Bejarano was named to ride, but remained at Churchill Downs to keep his engagements.

Kimmel said Premium Tap had soundness issues in his youth. Since last December, Premium Tap has three wins, two seconds, and a third from six starts. His three losses have come to stakes winners Harlington, Master Command, and Survivalist.

"I think he showed the kind of horse he could be,'' Kimmel said. "We had a hard time in his 3-year-old year keeping him sound, but I think things are coming together. We've been real patient with him and hopefully we can have a nice horse in the handicap division.''

Kimmel said he would consider a race like the Whitney for Premium Tap.

Sun King, who was coming off a narrow loss in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap, may have been a victim of his new late-running style. He broke sharply then fell well off the pace before trying to come with a late run. At 123 pounds, he was spotting the winner seven pounds.

"It wasn't a bad race,'' Nick Zito, the trainer of Sun King, said. "He carried 118 pounds in the Met so you know he won't carry more than that in the Whitney. I was afraid of [Premium Tap]; he'd run some good races. We could benefit by it; it could be a positive.''

Sweetnorthernsaint in light training Sweetnorthernsaint, seventh as the favorite in the Kentucky Derby and second in the Preakness, recently resumed training at Laurel Park and will be pointed to a late summer and fall campaign, trainer Michael Trombetta said Friday.

Trombetta said he gave Sweetnorthernsaint five weeks off after the Preakness and has been jogging the gelding at Laurel. Trombetta said he would not make the Travers at Saratoga on Aug. 26.

"I think the time we gave him was more important than plotting things on the calendar,'' Trombetta said. "I've been training him like I got nowhere to go and when it all jells and comes together then we'll start looking for a spot.''

Trombetta said the foot Sweetnorthernsaint injured slightly in the Preakness is not a problem.

Sugar Shake may run in CCA Oaks

Sugar Shake, winner of a one-mile first-level allowance race here on June 29, could make her next start in the $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks on July 22, trainer Bobby Frankel said.

Sugar Shake, a daughter of Awesome Again out of 1999 Cotillion Handicap winner Skipping Around, has won two straight this meet. Her 6 1/2-length maiden win on May 25 earned a 94 Beyer Speed Figure. Last time out, Javier Castellano wrapped up on her late and the Beyer was a more modest 86.

If she runs in the CCA Oaks, Sugar Shake would be stretching out from a mile to 1 1/4 miles.

"It doesn't look like she was getting weak at the end of her last race,'' Frankel said. "It's the same distance [as the Alabama] and this will come up an easier race.''

Bushfire, winner of the Acorn and Mother Goose, will not run in the Coaching Club. Pine Island, the Mother Goose runner-up, will most likely point to the Coaching Club.

Poker rematch likely

Rebel Rebel and Remarkable News, the one-two finishers from last Sunday's Poker Handicap, will most likely meet in the Grade 2, $150,000 Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga on Aug. 6. That race could also include defending Breeders' Cup Mile winner Artie Schiller.

Rebel Rebel beat Remarkable News by 2 1/4 lengths in the Poker, running a mile in 1:33.34. Rebel Rebel rallied from well off the pace while Remarkable News encountered a ton of traffic in the race.

Rebel Rebel may have benefited from jockey Edgar Prado's desire to take him back, a change from previous tactics.

"Edgar told me he wanted to take him back and I knew we had nothing to lose trying it,'' trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said. "Edgar wants to win as much as we do.''

Meanwhile, Angel Penna Jr., the trainer of Remarkable News, said his horse was simply unlucky.

"I don't think it was anybody's fault, he was just in a spot where he couldn't get out,'' Penna said. "And from the 3 1/2-furlong marker, Edgar made sure he couldn't get out.''