10/05/2001 11:00PM

Forbidden Apple wins Kelso again

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ELMONT, N.Y. - Forbidden Apple proved again that he is a monster at Belmont Park by winning the $250,000 Kelso Handicap, a Grade 2, for the second year in a row.

Forbidden Apple, under Jose Santos, saved ground throughout the one-mile Kelso on the grass, and slipped through on the rail in midstretch for a half-length win over the late-charging Sarafan. It was another half-length back to City Zip, who was making his turf debut, in third.

The final time over a yielding course was 1:36.77. Forbidden Apple returned $6 as the favorite in the nine-horse field.

Forbidden Apple, a 6-year-old, is now 7 for 11 at Belmont Park. Trained by Christophe Clement, Forbidden also won this year's Grade 1 Manhattan and last year's Grade 2 Belmont Breeders' Cup Handicap over the course.

"He won going away, which I like," said Clement, who indicated Forbidden Apple would run next in the Breeders' Cup Mile on Oct. 27 at Belmont. Last year, Forbidden Apple was seventh in the Mile at Churchill Downs.

The win was particularly satisfying for Santos, who rode Forbidden Apple on several occasions last year. Corey Nakatani was named on Forbidden Apple in the Kelso, but was unable to get to New York from California because his flight was canceled.

"This was a gift from God," Santos said. "I was very patient with him because I knew the horses in front of him are not in Forbidden Apple's class."

Forbidden Apple is owned and bred Arthur Appleton.