For a horse that's earned more than $1.4 million, competed in seven Grade or Group I races and has been beaten little more than four lengths in the last two runnings of the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT), Forbidden Apple gets little respect from the racing public. Not that trainer Christophe Clement cares."I'm not a gambling man," said Clement of Forbidden Apple, who has been favored only twice in his last 12 starts. "I don't care if he's favored. I just want him to win."Racing fans handicapping Saturday's $350,000 Kelso Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II), one the of four stakes offered on Saturday's Breeders' Cup Preview Day at Belmont Park, should give Forbidden Apple more attention than usual. The 7-year-old has a chance to become the first three-time winner of the Kelso. Eight will oppose the millionaire in this one-mile race on the Widener Turf Course.The Kelso has produced one eventual Breeders' Cup Mile winner, Lure, won both races in 1993.
Owned by Arthur Appleton, Forbidden Apple may be the most versatile turf horse in the country. Over the last two seasons, he has faced the cream of the crop in at distance from a mile to 11 furlongs. He doesn't win every time, but he doesn't go down without putting up a fight. His margin of defeat in three starts this year barely equals 2 1/2 lengths. Rarely is he not in the dogfight when the race enters the last sixteenth of a mile.
"That's why he is a great horse," Clement said. He always runs his race."
Forbidden Apple has run well at Churchill Downs, Arlington Park, Saratoga and Sha Tin in Hong Kong, but Belmont Park's rolling turf courses seem to bring out his best. Overall, Forbidden Apple has won seven of 13 races at Belmont, including the Manhattan (gr. IT), Belmont Breeders' Cup (gr. IIT) and consecutive Kelso Handicaps. Forbidden Apple is just 1-for-14 when racing elsewhere.
"He's been involved in some close finishes this year and getting back to Belmont Park should help him," Clement said. "He loves it here. He's training great and looks good."
Forbidden Apple is winless in his last five starts. The 121-pound high weight's last victory occurred in the 2001 Kelso Handicap. Jockey Jose Santos has the mount.
Stronach Stable's Krieger is winless in two graded stakes appearances, but there might be some untapped potential here.
Trained by Joe Orseno, Krieger rattled off three good-looking allowance victories, one of which occurred at the expense of an eventual Grade I competitor in Blazing Fury. Knowing he had a lightly raced and a potentially dangerous miler on his hands, Orseno called it a year after Krieger won a third-level allowance versus older allowance horses in late October.
Krieger enters the 2002 Kelso relatively fresh, with only two races under his belt this year. He ran a monstrous comeback race at Saratoga on Aug. 11, setting fast fractions of :22 1/5 and :45 while as many as eight lengths in front of the rest of the field. He was run down by Balto Star.
Krieger made his Grade 1 debut in Woodbine's Atto Mile in his next start, but never fired his best and checked in eighth.
Kelso rival Patrol looks unrateable and will likely take the Kelso field through the early stages in tandem with longshot Saint Verre.Krieger, who has been blessed with the same speed as Patrol, is rateable and could fall into a nice stalking trip off the pair."He's a little headstrong and because of that I think he sometimes gets away from the rider," Orseno said. "The one-turn race at Woodbine didn't suit his style. A one-turn race takes away from his natural speed. This (mile on the Widener) is like one and a half turns."
Jockey David Flores will ride Krieger.Claiborne Farms' Patrol was a tick off a Meadowlands track record in his last start, taking an average field of three-year-old turf horses gate-to-wire in the 1 1/16-mile Rushing Man stakes at the Meadowlands. Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey has the mount for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. Claiborne Farm won this race in 1993 with Lure.Gainsborough Farm's Moon Solitaire ran well to finish a close-up fourth in the Atto Mile and should be rallying late for trainer Henry Cochran. $350,000 Kelso (gr. IIT), 1 mile, 3 & Up
PP HORSE, JOCKEY, WGT.
1 Moon Solitaire, Richard Migliore, 117
2 Krieger, David Flores, 113
3 Patrol, Jerry Bailey, 114
4 Baptize, Pat Day, 115
5 Forbidden Apple, Jose Santos, 121
6 Volponi, Shaun Bridgmohan, 117
7 Saint Verre, Jean-Luc Samyn, 112
8 Green Fee, John Velazquez, 113
9 Lunar Leo, Aaron Gryder, 114