11/28/2001 1:00AM

Forbidden Apple tops list of 31 nominees to Tropical Turf 'Cap


MIAMI - There are four stakes worth $100,000 apiece on the Grand Slam I program Dec. 8, and if the nomination lists are any indication the best of the four races figures to be the Grade 3 Tropical Turf Handicap, to be run at 1 1/8 miles on the grass.

Heading the list of 31 horses eligible for the Tropical Turf is Breeders' Cup Mile runner-up Forbidden Apple, who earlier this season won the Grade 1 Manhattan and Grade 2 Kelso handicaps. He is one of two horses trainer Christophe Clement has nominated to the race for owner Arthur Appleton, along with Broadway Snowman, who is coming off a game second-level allowance win in New York.

Other prominent invaders nominated to the Tropical Turf include Eltawaasul, Honor Glide, Spindrift, Tijiyr, Crash Course, and Slew Valley.

Among the leaders based locally is Band Is Passing, who has been lightly raced again this year by owner-trainer-breeder Stan Ersoff. Band Is Passing has won once in seven starts this year and finished second in the Grade 2 Appleton and Grade 3 Canadian Turf handicaps. In his last start he was third, beaten a neck, in defense of his Pass the Line Handicap title here on Oct. 27.

"He got sick on me after he returned from Kentucky," Ersoff said, referring to Band Is Passing's fourth-place finish in Churchill Downs's Firecracker Handicap on July 4. "I gave him some time off and really only had worked him twice prior to his last race.

"He usually gets good this time of year, although you'd always like to think they're going to be the same horse year after year and sometimes they're just not. He'll turn 6 in another month, so you just never know. But one thing I can say about him for sure, he always tries hard."

Jurado back and winning

Jockey Enrique Jurado, a mainstay on the local circuit for seven years before moving to Delaware Park this summer, returned home this month and wasted little time making his way back into the winner's circle - winning a pair of races in his first full week on the grounds. A 25-year-old native of Lima, Peru, he won 20 races in his first season at Delaware, including a pair of stakes for trainer Michael Matz, and is hopeful the contacts he made up north will carry him through the competitive south Florida winter season.

"I always wanted to try riding up north, so when the opportunity presented itself this year I took it," said Jurado, who will be aboard Piano Chimes in Saturday's Hollywood Wildcat Stakes. "The change of atmosphere helped, and fortunately I've been really well received since coming back here, both by my old clients and some new ones."

Jurado has hired agent Henry Cambone, who also handles 10-pound apprentice Carlos Sanjurjo, who scored the first victory of his career in Sunday's finale aboard 19-1 Shypatriot.

o Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos arrived at Gulfstream on Monday. He is being pointed to the Grade 1 Donn Handicap on Feb. 9. He won all three of his starts at Gulfstream last winter, including the Grade 1 Florida Derby.