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Trot N.A. Cup Spring Book: #5

Published: April 8, 2019 11:05 am ET

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The countdown to the 2019 Pepsi North America Cup is on, with Trot Insider profiling the horses predicted to be the top contenders for Canadian harness racing's richest prize.

At 14-1, De Los Cielos Deo comes in at #5 in TROT Magazine's 2019 Pepsi North America Cup Spring Book.

From 10 starts as a rookie, De Los Cielos Deo (Captaintreacherous - Lisjune) posted a 5-2-0 summary and banked $200,557 for Burke Racing Stable LLC, Larry Karr, J&T Silva Purnel & Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. The colt was undefeated in early Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action, reeling off five straight until losing to Proof by a half-length in the $253,000 PASS Final and ending the season without a win in five outings. Trot Insider caught up with co-owner and trainer Ron Burke for an update on the reasons for the change in form.

How would you summarize the two-year-old year of De Los Cielos Deo?

"You know, it was great in the beginning and then in the end he got a little foot problem. Being honest, I thought it affected him more than it should have. He's a big strong colt -- really big, actually -- so I'm going to be a little more careful this year and be a little bit more cautious on how much I race him and just realize that maybe with him I'm better to get a few great starts than a whole bunch of good ones.

"[The foot problem] started to affect his attitude; I don't think he really liked trying to race through it. So finally we shut him down and I've been very cautious this year coming back."

Where did he winter?


When did you start back with him?

"I think the 15th of January he came back in and started jogging."

Any noticeable changes in him from two to three?

"I don't know if he could have grown any, he's pretty big. He might have got a little heavier and it's something I'm going to watch with him and make a concerted effort to keep his weight down. I think he's the kind that could get too heavy.

"He seems really happy right now and his feet are good. I've been more aggressive on treatments for all his aches and pains...I just don't want this horse to get sore at all, I really think he's top of the line if I can keep him sound and happy."

Where are you at with him now?

"Second time in the bike [Monday] and then we'll look to put together a couple of qualifiers, spread him out and then choosing where we're going to race."

What will his early schedule look like leading up to the Pepsi North America Cup?

"The thing is there's the PA Sire Stakes so I'm sure we'll go to that and there won't be much more than that before that. Like I said I'm not looking to overrace him."

What does his tentative schedule look like after the North America Cup?

"He's eligible to everything and it will be week by week."

What's his biggest asset/strength?

"Just his pure ability; he's a wonderfully talented horse."

At what point last year did you think this horse was North America Cup material?

"From the minute I hooked him, I knew he was a top horse. When I bought him, he was the highest-rated yearling we bought that year and the whole time training down he was super. I never doubted his ability...a little bit of disappointment at the end of the year as things weren't as good as I wanted them to be for him but, in the end he came out of it alright and I probably learned some things that will help me this year as far as racing him."

You also have Semi Tough coming back. Any other colts in your stable that are North America Cup-eligible?

"I have more but when I think of winning, those are my two best shots right now."

What would it mean to add another North America Cup to your trophy case?

"Obviously North America Cup, Jug, Meadowlands Pace, me, when I think of names of races you want to win those are it."

Previous North America Cup Spring Book Profiles:
North America Cup Spring Book - #6
North America Cup Spring Book - #7
North America Cup Spring Book - #8
North America Cup Spring Book - #9
North America Cup Spring Book - #10

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