Updated on 09/15/2011 1:23PM

Forbidden Apple takes bite out of Manhattan

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ELMONT, N.Y. - Forbidden Apple underscored his fondness for the Big Apple by winning the $400,000 Manhattan Handicap to become a Grade 1 winner with his three-quarter-length win over King Cugat.

The anticipated battle of the sexes never materialized; champion filly Perfect Sting finished sixth as the second choice after being in tight quarters for much of the race.

For the sixth time in nine starts, Forbidden Apple won a race over Belmont Park's turf course.

In the 1 1/4-mile Manhattan over the inner turf, Forbidden Apple set the pace under jockey Corey Nakatani, who was subbing for the injured Jose Santos. The early leader carved out fractions of 23.95 seconds, 48.94, 1:13.42, and 1:37.20.

The 120-pound highweight and favorite King Cugat, wearing blinkers for the first time, was closing strongly on the outside as the wire approached. King Cugat's rider, Jerry Bailey, said he was rank down the backstretch and the blinkers may have played a part.

"That was a terrible trip for a mile and a quarter," Bailey said. "After he got checked on the first turn, I had to get him going to hold his position and ended up fighting him for the next five eighths. It was a pretty good effort considering everything."

Chris McCarron, who rode Perfect Sting, said, "I had a rough trip. She had nowhere to go from the three-eighths pole to the quarter pole. King Cugat kept pushing her back in and she got bumped hard on both sides on the turn. I don't know if that's what caused her to stop."

McCarron told Orseno to check the mare after the race.

The Gary Tanaka-owned entry of Tijiyr and Sumitas finished third and fourth. Boston Party, Perfect Sting, Carpenter's Halo, Cynics Beware, Understood, and Turnofthecentury completed the order of finish.

The final time was 2:00.77.

Christophe Clement trains Forbidden Apple ($16) for owner Arthur Appleton.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman