05/30/2002 12:00AM

Clement hopes to run Forbidden Apple

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ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Christophe Clement would like to follow the same pattern with Forbidden Apple that he did last year, when the then-6-year-old horse came off a seven-month layoff to win the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap.

Clement is again targeting next Saturday's Manhattan for Forbidden Apple's seasonal debut. Thursday morning, after watching Forbidden Apple breeze five furlongs in 1:02.02 over the Belmont turf course, Clement said his participation in the Manhattan depends largely on racing secretary Mike Lakow.

"`If the weights are fair, I'll run," Clement said. "If the weights are not fair, I'll go to California."

Clement is considering the Grade 1 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap at Hollywood Park on June 15.

Forbidden Apple is 7 for 12 over Belmont's turf course, and finished second in the Breeders' Cup Mile here last fall. He has not been out since running fourth in the Hong Kong Mile last Dec. 16.

Clement said he gave some thought to running Forbidden Apple in the Jaipur Handicap on Memorial Day, but was displeased with the weight assignment of 126 pounds. Clement said his horse was weighted at 120 pounds for last weekend's Red Bank Handicap at Monmouth.

The Manhattan, a $400,000 race run at 10 furlongs, is expected to draw an exceptional field. Among those planning to run are Beat Hollow, winner of the Woodford Reserve; Strut the Stage, winner of the Dixie Handicap; With Anticipation, winner of the 2000 Sword Dancer and Man o' War handicaps; Blazing Fury; Slew the Red; Baptize; Glyndebourne; and European shipper Krombacher.

Thursday, Blazing Fury worked six furlongs in 1:15.02 on turf. Slew the Red, third in the Dixie last out, went seven furlongs in 1:28.45.

Weight assignments for the Manhattan are due out on Sunday.

Nonsuch Bay readies for Acorn

Nonsuch Bay, upset winner of the Grade 2 Nassau County Handicap, worked five furlongs in 1:01.85, handily, Thursday in preparation for her start in next Friday's Grade 1 Acorn.

Jockey John Velazquez was up for the move, which was by design significantly slower than her bullet 59.40-second move on May 23.

"That was a little bit too fast," trainer Frank Alexander said. "I had Johnny work her this morning and he kept her pretty wide early because she was getting rank down the backside. He dropped her to the inside at the three-eighths pole and she finished up nice.

"She wants to get to the pole and get it over with," Alexander said. "She's a pretty smart filly; she knows when she's going to work and she gets on the muscle."

Javier Castellano rode Nonsuch Bay to victory in the Nassau County, but he had already committed to riding Proper Gamble in the Acorn. Castellano rode Proper Gamble to victory in the Beaumont at Keeneland and the Cicada at Aqueduct.

Velazquez will ride Nonsuch Bay in the Acorn.

Among those expected for the Acorn are Alchemilla, Bella Bellucci, Dust Me Off, and You. Willa on the Move, Adoration, and Dubai Fall are possible. Imperial Gesture is doubtful.

"The Kentucky Oaks took more out of her than we thought it would," assistant trainer Tom Albertrani said of Imperial Gesture.

Turf next for Smoked Em?

Smoked Em, who defeated subsequent Preakness runner-up Magic Weisner in the Federico Tesio at Pimlico in April, worked four furlongs in 50.02 seconds on the turf Thursday morning.

"He did it real nice," said Tristan Barry, assistant for trainer Todd Pletcher. "He looked like he really enjoyed it. We weren't looking for a rocket time."

Barry said the turf is an option for Smoked Em's next start. The next turf race for 3-year-olds at Belmont is the Hill Prince on June 15. Smoked Em, who most recently finished fifth in the Lone Star Derby and who has never run on turf, is by Smoke Glacken out of the Irish River mare Blarneystone Lass.

Future uncertain for Real Cozzy

Real Cozzy, winner of the 2000 Fair Grounds Oaks, is suffering from back-end problems again, putting her racing future in jeopardy.

Real Cozzy was plagued with hind-end problems last year, according to trainer Danny Peitz, and those problems resurfaced following the filly's third-place finish in a May 23 allowance race.

Peitz said if it were earlier in the year, Real Cozzy would have most likely been retired and bred. Peitz said now that the breeding season is over, he will try to get Real Cozzy right again, but "if I don't think she's where she needs to be we'll be done with her. She's worth a lot of money as a broodmare based on what she did last year. If she never races again so be it."

In addition to winning the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks, Real Cozzy ran second in both the Kentucky Oaks and Mother Goose and was third in the Acorn, all Grade 1 races.