01/05/2013 3:14PM

Parx Racing: Klesaris asks Tujoes to shorten up in distance

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Barbara Weidl/Equiphoto
Tujoes won the Roanoke going 1 1/16 miles last September, but will shorten to seven furlongs for Monday's $53,000 allowance feature.

In his last five starts, all two-turn races at distances ranging from one mile to 1 1/8 miles, Tujoes owns three victories, including one in a stakes restricted to Pennsylvania-breds. So why would trainer Steve Klesaris ask the 6-year-old Tujoes to cut back to seven furlongs – a distance where he has been beaten an average of 9 3/4 lengths in his only two starts for Monday’s $53,000 feature at Parx Racing?

Based on his statistics the last five years, Klesaris knows exactly what he’s doing and bettors ought to think twice before going against the high-percentage trainer in this situation.

Short layoff type horses such as Tujoes, who has been off since Nov. 18, switching from a route to a sprint for Klesaris have gone 14 for 43 (33 percent) and produced a $2.65 return on investment. In allowance events such as Monday’s third-level optional $40,000 claimer, Klesaris is even better on the cutback in distance. His record in those events is 6 for 14 (43 percent) with a $3.17 ROI.

So even though Tujoes was a distant fourth the last time he tried seven furlongs in April, a slightly shorter distance may be just what he needs to clear his third allowance condition.

Among his six rivals, More Than Candy may be the chief threat. Since he was claimed for $7,500 in October 2011 at Penn National, More Than Candy has won seven times for trainer Tim Kreiser, including a 6-for-13 campaign in 2012. In his first try going seven furlongs last time out, the 5-year-old More Than Candy earned a career-best 96 Beyer Speed Figure for his nine-length romp in the mud over $5,000 starter allowance foes at Laurel Park. He easily cleared his first two allowance conditions during 2012 at Penn National.

All three of Moon Eclipse’s lifetime wins have come at Parx, but he will be sprinting for the first time since he was a maiden at Delaware Park in August 2011. The Tony Dutrow-trained Moon Eclipse has raced just once since February, flashing early speed and fading in a route in mid-November. He prepped for Monday’s spot by working a half-mile bullet in 48.80 seconds last Wednesday.

Follow the Leader was a consistent performer in the starter allowance ranks in 2012, winning 5 of 11 starts. He returns north following a third-place finish in the Claiming Crown Iron Horse at Gulfstream Park five weeks ago.