Philly Ace closed with a good kick in the $100,000 Tropical Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Calder Race Course & Casino Nov. 30, running down 9-5 favorite Hollinger to record his first graded stakes score on the Florida track's closing day of the season.
Coming off a third-place finish behind Boisterous and Lake Drop in the Nov. 3 Red Smith Handicap (gr. IIT) at Aqueduct Racetrack, the 4-year-old Pennsylvania homebred Smart Strike gelding went 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.22 on firm going for Brushwood Stable and trainer Christophe Clement to post a half-length victory.
Meet-leading jockey Luis Saez gave the eventual winner the kind of ride that brought him frequently to the winner's circle this season at Calder. Hugging the hedge after a quick break from the one hole, Saez patiently settled his mount in fifth while Hollinger set opening fractions of :24.57 and :50.19 one length ahead of Empire Builder.