De Los Cielos Deo and Prospect Hill rolled through their respective Pennsylvania Sires Stakes divisions and were looking to complete sweeps in Saturday’s (Sept. 1) $253,000 championships at The Meadows. Instead of coronation, they got comeuppance, upset by Proof in the colt and gelding pacers division and Osterc in the colt and gelding trotting division.
The Meadows hosted all four PASS $253,000 freshman championships, with the distaff titles going to Sylph Hanover and Windy Corner. The exciting card turned into a celebration of long shots, as the favorites went 0-8 in the championships and $50,000 consolations.
De Los Cielos Deo had been the most impressive PASS performer, winning his preliminary legs by a combined nine lengths en route to a five-race career unbeaten streak. When he powered past the 16-1 Proof at the quarter and held that lead turning for home, it appeared he would pad his streak.
But Proof, a Diamond Creek Racing homebred son of A Rocknroll Dance-Ginger And Fred, is no slouch, finishing first or second in his first five starts. He kicked by De Los Cielos Deo for Scott Zeron and downed him by a half-length in a career-best 1:51, with Semi Tough third.
"I didn’t expect to get that good a trip from post seven," said winning trainer Brian Brown. "We were the only one who really left. It turned out perfect for us. That’s why Scott is driving. I wasn’t at all confident in the stretch. That’s an awfully good horse you’re trying to get around. My horse today was just better."
Brown said Proof, who soared over $200,000 in career earnings, likely would be pointed to the Metro Pace.
Osterc entered the championship in fine form, with three straight PASS victories, but his chances appeared limited from post 9. Indeed, when Prospect Hill was stalking from the pocket into the final turn, it appeared only a matter of time before he gobbled up the leader. But the favorite made an unforced break, and Osterc and Yannick Gingras were able to hold off White Tiger by a head in 1:56.4 to claim the crown. Demon Onthe Hill completed the ticket.
"I’ve felt him better than I did in the warm-up today. He got a little bumpy a few times, but his attitude is just phenomenal," said Jimmy Takter, who conditions the son of Cantab Hall-Oh Oh Hereshoecomes, who now boasts a bankroll of $226,401. "That’s why he keeps winning. These 2-year-olds — they keep on surprising me all the time."
Christina Takter and Goran Falk own Osterc, who was named for Thomaz Osterc, a member of Takter’s staff who, Takter says, was treated for, and recovered from, a serious illness and is now back performing his duties. Takter said he hasn’t decided on the colt’s next race.
In the other championships:
$253,000 PASS Championship — 2-Year-Old Filly Pacers.
Warrawee Ubeaut and Treacherous Reign dominated the preliminaries; when they sat 1-2 at the three-quarters, it looked as if the titans would duel once again. But 13-1 Sylph Hanover sustained a long first-over bid for Matt Kakaley and edged the rallying Philly Hanover by a neck in 1:51.4. Warrawee Ubeaut saved show.
"We changed her style a little bit to race from the back," said Ron Burke, who trains Sylph Hanover and Warrawee UBeaut. "I think today that was the move because the front end’s not holding, so you’re racing against a variance on the lead. She came first in a long way two starts ago here and won, so she has it in her. The owners did a good job with her. They picked her out; we just bought into her."
Burke Racing Stable, William Switala, James Martin and Joseph Critelli campaign the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-She’s A Fan, who’s eligible for the She’s A Great Lady and the Kentucky Standardbred and now has earned $207,072.
$253,000 PASS Championship — 2-Year-Old Filly Trotters
At 12-1, Windy Corner made her first-over move stand up, triumphing in 1:55.3 for Marcus Miller, trainer Erv Miller and owners Tony Holmes and Walter Zent. Magical Beliefs closed well for second, beaten a neck, with Fate Smiled third.
The daughter of Yankee Glide-Wind Stroll was winless in PASS preliminary legs, but Marcus Miller said she had shown him that she could compete at that level.
"I wouldn’t say I was surprised, although the way the race set up definitely surprised me," he said. "I always knew she had go, and she’s been getting better all the time. Early on, we were real conservative with her, teaching her the right way to race. I think it set her up to be able to make that move down the backside today and carry it. The last sixteenth or so was anxious, but she was very game."
Her bankroll now stands at $173,389.
PASS CHAMPIONSHIP NOTES: The consolations went to 9-5E Mass Fortune K (colt and gelding trot), 9-2 Art Lecture (filly pace), 28-1 Fade Into You (filly trot) and 5-1 Captain Malicious (colt and gelding pace) . . . Saturday’s upset bug also bit Windsong Leo who was seeking his eighth straight win in the $20,000 Preferred Handicap Pace but finished fourth after a rough trip from post eight. The victory in 1:50.3 went to Phoenix Warrior N for Jim Pantaleano, trainer Scott Betts and owners Timothy Betts, Nicholas Catalano and Steven Moss. (The Meadows)