08/13/2002 11:00PM

Forbidden Apple: Horse for all courses

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ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - When it comes to Forbidden Apple, trainer Christophe Clement doesn't hold back his emotions.

"Look at him, he's 7 years old and he always runs his race," Clement said. "I love the horse."

Forbidden Apple has responded in kind. For the last three seasons he has been a graded stakes pillar in Clement's barn, and though Forbidden Apple doesn't run often, Clement makes his races count. Last year he raced four times, only in Grade 1's and Grade 2's, winning the Manhattan and finishing second in the Breeders' Cup Mile.

This year, Forbidden Apple has started only twice, with a second in the Manhattan and a third in the Bernard Baruch. His campaign, designed to get Forbidden Apple to the Breeders' Cup Mile, makes a stop at Arlington on Saturday, where he'll be the lone East Coast representative in the Arlington Million.

At 1 1/4 miles, the Million, like the Manhattan, will tax Forbidden Apple's distance capabilities.

"The big thing is the Breeders' Cup Mile, but he's a good enough horse you can stretch him to 10 furlongs," Clement said.

Forbidden Apple, a big horse with a long stride and a steady pace, is at his best when he races at Belmont, where the turns are sweeping, and Clement thinks the wide swath of Arlington's course will suit Forbidden Apple better than Saratoga, where he missed by a head in the Baruch.

As for getting Forbidden Apple to the Million at his peak, Clement relies on his horse, who has made starts in five different seasons.

"This horse knows more about racing than I do," Clement said.

Valenzuela utters battle cry

Jockey Patrick Valenzuela predicted victory for Golden Apples in the $700,000 Beverly D. Stakes following a workout by her at Del Mar on Wednesday.

"Anyone that is in there is in trouble," Valenzuela said. "She's push-button. If she runs her race, I think she'll win."

Working alone, Golden Apples went a half-mile in 50.40 seconds on turf.

"She did it pretty easy," Valenzuela said.

Wednesday's work was the second time that Valenzuela has exercised Golden Apples, a mount he picked up following her second-place finish in the Ramona Handicap on July 27.

The 4-year-old Golden Apples was scheduled to be shipped to Chicago on Thursday.

Trainer Ben Cecil said that Golden Apples has put on weight since the Ramona.

"I was kind of ashamed to take her over there the other day," Cecil said, referring to the Ramona. "Her coat has come around and she's put on weight. She's doing better now. I like her chances."

Golden Apples has won 4 of 11 starts and $730,199. She has won 3 of 7 starts since arriving to the United States from Ireland last summer. Her most recent win came in the Grade 2 Santa Ana Handicap at Santa Anita last March.

Falcon Flight, who will be a longshot in the Arlington Million, worked five furlongs in 1:04.40 at Del Mar Thursday.

The old jock-for-broodmare angle

The horse-for-course angle is a popular one in handicapping. But how about a rider for a broodmare?

Bobby Frankel thinks he has one in Kent Desormeaux. With Jerry Bailey booked to ride likely favorite Orchard Park in the Secretariat, Frankel tapped Desormeaux as Chiselling's jockey for Saturday. Desormeaux already had won on Chiselling, but the appeal was greater than that.

Chiselling is the fifth foal produced by Toussaud. Toussaud herself was a notoriously hot horse, not the easiest animal to get along with, and along with prodigious talent, she has passed similar characteristics along to her offspring. But Desormeaux has a knack for dealing with them.

"He seems to ride all the Toussauds good," Frankel said. "He even rode her."

The record bears out Frankel's memory. Desormeaux rode Toussaud to wins in several graded stakes and was aboard when she was fourth to Lure in the 1993 Breeders' Cup Mile. As good as Toussaud was on the track, she's been even better as a dam. Her first three foals, Chester House, Honest Lady, and Decarchy, all are graded stakes winners, and after a one-year break, she produced Chiselling.

Chester House, who won the 2000 Arlington Million, is the only one Desormeaux didn't win on. He rode Honest Lady to a close second-place finish in the 2000 Breeders' Cup Sprint, and he has been aboard Decarchy for two graded stakes wins.

Festival pick three

Arlington again will link the Festival races in a pick three wager Saturday, even though the races will not be run consecutively.

The wager is being called the Festival Three. There is no guaranteed payout, and takeout on the $1-minimum bet is the customary 25 percent. The races are the Beverly D. (race seven), Million (race nine), and Secretariat (race 11).

To avoid confusion, there will not be a rolling pick three offered on races 7-8-9 nor 9-10-11.

Last year, the $2 Festival Three returned $1,263.20 after victories by England's Legend, Silvano, and Startac. Handle was $291,397.

Turf course looking good

Although hard rain pounded the northwest Chicago suburbs early this week, saturating Arlington to the point that grass races were moved to the main track Wednesday, the turf course was expected to be in great shape for Saturday. After all, Wednesday was the first date since June 15 that turf racing had to be transferred, so the course seems likely to benefit from a heavy rain.

No more rain was expected at least until Saturday, when the forecast calls for a chance of showers and a high of about 83.

Short fields set record

The combined 22 starters in Saturday's three Festival races is the lowest total for the three races since the Beverly D. became a major event in 1989.

The previous low for total starters in the 12 years since the Festival races became a package (there was no Festival in 1998-99) was 23, set in 1997. That year, eight horses started in the Million, six in the Beverly D., and nine in the Secretariat.

The largest number during that period was 35, set in 1994.

From Chicago to Antarctica

The Million is the fifth leg of the 14-race World Series Racing Championship. Because of its affiliation with the World Series, the Million will be televised to far more outlets than would otherwise be available, according to Nick Clarke, chief executive of the International Racing Bureau.

"Because of the World Series, more than 200 countries will be taking the Million, including Antarctica," said Clarke. "Even the poor wretches down there suffering from the cold will be able to enjoy the Arlington Million."

- additional reporting by Steve Andersen and Marty McGee