Forbidden Apple takes the Manhattan Handicap.

Forbidden Apple takes the Manhattan Handicap.

Mike Corrado

Forbidden Apple Wins Manhattan In Wire to Wire Fashion

Corey Nakatani stole the 100th running of the $400,000 Manhattan (gr. IT) on the Belmont Park turf course Saturday, giving 7-1 outsider Forbidden Apple a textbook ride on the front end and defeating favored King Cugat by a diminishing three-parts of a length. Stablemates Tijiyr and Sumitas finished third and fourth, respectively, while last year's Eclipse Award-winning turf female, Perfect Sting, wound up sixth.

Forbidden Apple, a 6-year-old son of Pleasant Colony out of North of Eden, by Northfields, was bred in Florida by his owner, Arthur I. Appleton. The Christophe Clement-trained horse was coming off a six-month layoff, his last starting coming in Hong Kong last Dec. 17, when he finished fourth behind Fantastic Light under Jose Santos in the Hong Kong Cup (HK-I). Before that, Forbidden Apple was seventh in the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT), but he showed an affinity for the Belmont Park turf in his two prior starts: a neck victory over Affirmed Success in the Kelso Handicap (gr. IIT) and a 1 1/4-length upset of Val's Prince in the Belmont Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIT). Nakatani got the mount as the result of an injury sustained by Santos earlier this spring.

Breaking from the outside post, Forbidden Apple grabbed the early advantage from Turnofthecentury and controlled all the fractions, going a quarter-mile in :23.95, a half in :48.94, three-quarters in 1:13.42, and a mile in 1:37.20. He opened a clear advantage at the top of the stretch as Tijiyr and Sumitas -- a Gary Tanaka-owned, Niall O'Callaghan-trained entry -- tried to make up ground after tracking the early leaders from third and fourth. King Cugat, meanwhile, under Jerry Bailey, was between horses in mid-pack most of the way, then shook loose on the turn for home. He cut into Forbidden Apple's lead in the final furlong but was never a serious threat to the winner, falling short by three-quarters of a length after 1 1/4 miles on firm turf in 2:00.77, more than three seconds slower than the track record. It was another half-length back to Tijiyr and two lengths to Sumitas.

The winner paid $16. It was Forbidden Apple's seventh victory in 20 lifetime starts.

(Chart, Equibase)