Updated on 09/15/2011 1:10PM

Interesting, wide-open Kelso


ELMONT, N.Y. - Unlike the four other stakes at Belmont Park on Saturday, the $250,000 Kelso Handicap, a Breeders' Cup Mile prep, is a wide-open race.

With no standouts in the nine-horse field, the Grade 2 Kelso at one mile on the turf brings together an interesting group of horses. Among them are last year's winner, Forbidden Apple; Manndar, who won the Grade 1 Manhattan here last year; and sprint star City Zip, who makes his turf debut.

Forbidden Apple, trained by Christophe Clement, is the probable favorite because of his excellent record of 6 for 10 at Belmont.

Forbidden Apple and Manndar each carry 118 pounds as the highweights.

Forbidden Apple became a Grade 1 winner in June in the Manhattan, his first race since December. He ran back in the 1 3/8-mile Bowling Green and finished sixth, and has not raced since. Clement had hoped to run Forbidden Apple in the Belmont Breeders' Cup last month, a race his horse won in 2000, but the stakes was scrapped after the terrorists attacks on New York City.

"I was puzzled by the Bowling Green; he ran below form at every stage of the race, so it would be a mistake to blame the distance," Clement said.

"He's a much better horse in the fall," Clement added. "He likes it soft, he likes it cold, and he likes Belmont."

Forbidden Apple, who should be close early, drew post 3 and will be ridden by Corey Nakatani.

Trainer Linda Rice said that besides the Kelso she might enter City Zip in Sunday's $250,000 Forest Hills, a six-furlong dirt race, in case it rains and the course is bog-like for the Kelso. One of the reasons City Zip, who is 5 for 6 in six-furlong dirt races, was entered in the Kelso was because Rice believes it's an easier spot than the Forest Hills.

If City Zip, who worked well over the grass last weekend, runs well in the Kelso, his connections will consider running him in Mile.

"I have found that horses can run farther on the grass than dirt because it's a less laboring surface, if they like the grass," Rice said. "A one-turn mile is basically a long sprint. The Kelso would be much less attractive if it was a two-turn event."

Jorge Chavez rides City Zip from post 6.

Manndar hasn't raced since February and trainer Beau Greely said he hopes his horse "gets something out" of the Kelso, so he can proceed to the Mile or Turf.

Blu Air Force, Kimberlite Pipe, Sarafan, Sardaukar, Tubrok, and Union One complete the field.