09/02/2005 11:00PM

Sun King a shaky favorite

Sun King, a multiple Grade 3 winner, will break from post 14 in Monday's Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby.

With race favorites Sun King and Real Dandy stuck on the outside, spotting most of the field 3 to 8 pounds, and racing on the Philadelphia Park surface for the first time, Monday's Grade 2, $750,000 could be primed for an upset.

Sun King, a multiple Grade 3 winner and the Haskell runner-up, got saddled with post 14, and Real Dandy, the West Virginia Derby winner, is immediately to his inside in the largest Pennsylvania Derby field in the race's 27-year history. The Pennsylvania Derby goes as race 10 on an 11-race card that begins at 12:05 p.m. Eastern.

Three upset candidates will line up in posts 5 through 7 in Smokescreen, Network, and Tani Maru. Smokescreen, trained by Ben Perkins Jr., has not run since finishing fourth in the Long Branch Stakes at Monmouth Park on July 16. He was left on the also-eligible list in the West Virginia Derby.

Though Smokescreen is a son of the sprinter Smoke Glacken, Perkins said he doesn't see the nine furlongs of the Pennsylvania Derby being a problem.

"We've been wanting to stretch him out," Perkins said. "A couple of times he ran in slow-paced races and he moved earlier than we wanted to. Going a mile and an eighth in a big field, we should get a more legitimate pace. He's got a strong closing kick."

Perkins is removing the blinkers from Smokescreen because Smokescreen had become too rank in his most recent races. Mike Luzzi has the call.

Network, a son of Pulpit, has won four consecutive races - two on turf, two on dirt. Joe Bravo, who will ride for the first time since fracturing his collarbone July 21, has told owner and trainer Eddie Broome that Network is superior on dirt.

Broome said his only concern is how Network will handle dirt being kicked in his face. Broome has been training Network behind horses in the morning.

Tani Maru shipped down from New York to win the prep for the Pennsylvania Derby by 9 3/4 lengths Aug. 6.

As for the favorites, Sun King will have to use his speed from post 14 under Rafael Bejarano. Trainer Nick Zito, who won his first career race here in 1972, said: "We'll have to make the best of it. He's got a lot of class and we got a top jockey in Rafael."

Trainer Steve Asmussen said post 13 is "no excuse" for Real Dandy.

"The amount of horses in there is a bigger issue than the fact that you are 13," Asmussen said.