Since 1997, trainers Christophe Clement and Bill Mott have each racked up 15 stakes a piece on the Belmont Park turf. And each will enter Saturday's $150,000 Bowling Green Handicap (gr. IIT) at Belmont looking to break the tie. Clement will bring Forbidden Apple and Mott will bring King Cugat for the 1 3/8 mile event.
Forbidden Apple has finished ahead of King Cugat both times the two have faced each other. Their first encounter was in last year's Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) when Forbidden Apple finished seventh, 2 1/2 lengths in front of 11th placed King Cugat. In their most recent showdown, Forbidden Apple set a moderate pace in the Manhattan (gr. IT) and had enough to hold off King Cugat by three-quarters of a length.
Looking to stop Forbidden Apple and King Cugat will be California-invader Night Patrol, trained by Nick Canani. Night Patrol finished a good second behind Lazy Lode in the Arcadia Handicap (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita April 7. Godolphin's State Shinto was a stakes winner on the turf in France in 1999. He was fourth in this year's Dubai World Cup, only 3 1/2 lengths behind Captain Steve, but was not a factor in his first North American start, a 7th place effort against Albert the Great in the Brooklyn.
The field for the Bowling Green: Boston Party (Norberto Arroyo, Jr., 111); King Cugat (Jerry Bailey, 119); State Shinto (Javier Castellano, 116); Slew Valley (John Velazquez, 112); Man From Wicklow (Mike Luzzi, 111); Night Patrol (Richard Migliore, 114); and Forbidden Apple (Jean-Luc Samyn, 118).