"He was dull that day, but I think it was the soft turf that he didn't like," he speculated. "But we have to realize that he is now 8 years old and maybe he's not quite as good as he once was. It would be great for him to go out a winner."
Following Saturday's five-furlong breeze in :51 4/5 at Payson Park, trainer Christophe Clement confirmed that Forbidden Apple will make his final start in the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Turf at Santa Anita on Saturday."He worked well and came back in good order," said Clement. The Arthur Appleton homebred has been among the nation's top turf runners the past three years, a period in which he has captured four graded stakes races and placed in five others. His top finishes include a grade one win in the 2001 Manhattan Handicap and close finishes in each of the past three Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. I) races. For his 2001 campaign, in which he earned $725,060 in just five starts, the son of Pleasant Colony was named Florida-bred horse of the year in 2001.After the Sunshine Millions Barretts/CTBA Turf, Forbidden Apple is scheduled to return to Appleton's Bridlewood Farm to serve as a stallion. "It will be sad to see him go but he has done a lot in his career and he deserves his new life," Clement said. "If he's anywhere near as successful there as he has been here he will make a great sire."Despite his success, Forbidden Apple has recently demonstrated a proclivity for running close without winning; his last victory came in the Oct. 2001 Kelso Handicap (gr. II). But Clement was philosophical."We've been running him exclusively in grade one races against the best horses in the world and he keeps doing well," the trainer notes. "We could have dropped him down a notch to get a win but we feel this is his level." In his last start, Forbidden Apple turned in a dull effort when third as the heavy favorite in the Great State Challenge Turf, a race that has Clement wondering.