De Los Cielos Deo has been a freight train rolling through the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes 2-year-old colt and gelding pacing division, sweeping all four preliminary legs en route to a perfect 5-5 record. So all he has to do is show up to claim Saturday's championship at The Meadows, right?
Not so fast, my friend, says trainer Jim King Jr., whose Crimson And Chrome will try to pull off the major upset.
"I'm not asking them to write me a check before we get there, but he has a legitimate chance," King says.
The Meadows will host all four PASS freshman championships, each carrying a purse of $253,000, as well as $50,000 consolations for each division. In all, nearly $1.3 million in purses will be up for grabs. First post is 1:05 p.m.
Crimson And Chrome leaves from post 5 in Race 10 and will have the services of Tim Tetrick, whose Tim Tetrick LLC owns the son of Sweet Lou-McSauna. De Los Cielos Deo goes from post 3 with Yannick Gingras for trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable, Larry Karr, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby and Weaver Bruscemi LLC.
The name De Los Cielos Deo is a Spanish-Latin mash-up that can be translated as "from the heavens of God." While that's not exactly his pedigree—he's a son of Captaintreacherous-Lisjune—he's looked divine indeed, winning his PASS splits by a combined nine lengths and banking $113,257.
The statistics for Crimson And Chrome aren't nearly as gaudy, though he has won three straight, including a pair of PASS splits.
"He got off to a slow start, but he looks the part," King says. "Things have to go correctly for him; he has to be in position to do it. He won't overpower De Los Cielos Deo, but they don't want to be waiting for him because he's a late charger and he'll be a'comin'."
Although Crimson And Chrome is eligible to the Simpson, the Liberty Bell and the Keystone Classic, he's not paid in to the rich late-season stakes, so the PASS championship represents his best remaining earnings opportunity.
"We don't get carried away with our 2-year-old staking," King says. "We're looking for good 3-year-olds. He's showed enough that we'll plan a good schedule for him next year."
The De Los Cielos Deo-Crimson And Chrome match-up is one of a number in the championships that pit offspring from the first crops of Captain Treacherous and Sweet Lou. In fact, those two, along with the late Somebeachsomewhere and A Rocknroll Dance, produced all 18 finalists in Saturday's two championship paces. Ultimately, King says, that concentration could benefit other stallions that may attract buyers looking for bargains.
""We don't generally pay a lot for colts," he says. "We can't go in just looking for ‘Captains' and ‘Lous.' They'll be the sale-toppers, so we have to go looking for others."
King won't have to look very far for at least two youngsters. Tetrick already has two full brothers to Crimson And Chrome on the ground.
In addition to the championships, Saturday's card features a power-packed $20,000 Preferred Handicap Pace (Race 11) in which Windsong Leo shoots for his eighth straight win. The 6-year-old Jereme's Jet-Windsong Goldie gelding must overcome post 8 for Ronnie Wrenn Jr., Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi and Phil Collura. (The Meadows)