09/30/2008 11:00PM

Klesaris one away from 1,000


After moving to within one win of a significant milestone when his 3-year-old filly Red Hot Jazz romped by 6 1/2 lengths in Monday's eighth race at Philadelphia Park, trainer Steve Klesaris's push to record his 1,000th career victory was temporarily placed on hold when he didn't enter any horses Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.

But based on how hot Klesaris has been lately, especially at Philly Park, it shouldn't be long before he gets to celebrate win No. 1,000.

Since Sept. 7, Klesaris, 48, has gone 14 for 38 (37 percent) with his runners at Delaware Park and Philly Park, including a phenomenal 6-for-10 spurt at Philadelphia.

Not coincidentally, much of his recent success is coming with horses Klesaris owns in partnership with Jeff Puglisi's Puglisi Racing.

Puglisi, the president and CEO of a New York-based broker dealership that specializes in investment banking, institutional sales, and equity trading, and Klesaris combined to win 28 races and $1.6 million in purses last season. Their two most prominent horses were Diabolical, who was sold to Darley for an undisclosed amount after he won the Grade 2 Vanderbilt and Grade 3 Maryland Breeders' Cup Sprint, and Miraculous Miss, second in last fall's inaugural Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint and third against males in the Grade 1 Frank De Francis Memorial Dash at Laurel Park.

It's tough to say whether Klesaris and Puglisi have any rising stars capable of replacing either of those two stable stalwarts, but there are some prospects.

* Red Hot Jazz, purchased for $240,000 at Fasig-Tipton's sale in May 2007, earned a career-best 82 Beyer Speed Figure clearing her second allowance condition sprinting on Monday and is now 3 for 8 lifetime.

* Ask Joe, a 2-year-old son of Najran bought for a modest $42,000 this past spring, drew off by 2 3/4 lengths in his career debut at Delaware on Sept. 21, earning a 72 Beyer.

* Madison Avenue, a 2-year-old filly acquired for $105,000 at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. sale last February, improved dramatically and just missed by a neck when stretched out from six furlongs to a mile in her second start on Sept. 21.

Klesaris could be poised to collect his 1,000th win Friday, when he runs the unbeaten Mani Bhavan in the $500,000 Darley Alcibiades at Keeneland. He has four horses entered Saturday at Delaware, including morning-line favorites Tanganyika and Lucy de Bill in the day's first two races, and two in at Philly Park, including Patti's Unbridled Cat, who drops from maiden special weight to maiden claiming in race 1.

Klesaris, who enjoyed a career year in 2007 when his horses won 123 races and $4.04 million, has already won 107 races and collected $4.19 million worth of purses through the first nine months of 2008.