Bad Debt, Philly Ace Tropical Turf Topweights
Robert Leibner’s Gulfstream Park Millions Turf Preview Stakes winner Bad Debt shares co-highweight assignment with Brushwood Stable’s Philly Ace in the $100,000 Tropical Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) Dec. 7 at Calder Casino & Race Course, a race Philly Ace won in 2012 in his last start.
Trainer Christophe Clement has Pennsylvania-bred Philly Ace back in training after a layup, and will saddle the 5-year-old Smart Strike gelding in the 1 1/8-mile turf test he took by half a length last Nov. 30.
That victory was part of a solid season for Philly Ace, who won four of six starts including the Alphabet Soup Handicap at Aqueduct Racetrack. He was third in the Red Smith Handicap (gr. IIIT) won by Boisterous last year before getting his first graded score in the Tropical Turf. Brice Blanc gets the mount from Post 6 as part of a 118-pound impost.
Clement will also send out Moyglare Stud’s Speaking of Which, an Irish-bred 4-year-old son of Invincible Spirit who was a group III winner in his native country when trained by Dermot Weld.
With Philly Ace likely needing a race, Bad Debt figures as more likely of the two to secure the victory. Still in search of his first graded score, the 6-year-old Grand Reward gelding had been knocking at the door with a pair of well-spaced seconds in stakes at Gulfstream and Belmont Park earlier in the season, and drew off to win the 1 1/16-mile Turf Preview by 6 1/2 lengths after making a strong rally. Gabriel Saez rides for Mike Trombetta from Post 4.
Wachtel Stable’s Tetradrachm also bears watching off a freshening after a decent fourth-place finish in the Oct. 12 Knickerbocker Stakes (gr. IIIT) won by eventual Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) runner-up Za Approval. The 4-year-old Badge of Silver runner was also third in the Bernard Baruch Handicap (gr. IIT) won by eventual Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. I) winner Silver Max earlier this summer at Saratoga Race Course, one start after his last win for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott—an Aug. 3 turf allowance going 1 1/16 miles.
Green Lantern Stable’s Exothermic, Phipps Stable’s Reflecting, and Merriebelle Stable’s Paris Vegas, all allowance winners, complete the field. Paris Vegas, trained by Tom Voss, ran a career-best second in the Bernard Baruch two lengths behind Silver Max, but finished eighth in the Knickerbocker and was a lackluster fourth in the Nov. 9 Japan Racing Association Stakes at Laurel Park.
Bruce Hollander & Cathy Shapoff’s Csaba and Lisa’s Racing’s Ducduc, both entered for the $100,000 Fred W. Hooper Handicap (gr. III) earlier on the card (read preview), are entered here for the main track only.
$100,000 Tropical Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT, Race 6, approximate post 3:00 p.m. EST), 3YOs & Up, 1 1/8 miles (turf)
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