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Forbidden Apple Stakes: Set Piece Is the One to Beat

Written by: Brian Zipse
Updated October 14, 2022
9 min read

Forbidden Apple Stakes Odds and Post Position

Check out our predictions and odds for the 2022 Forbidden Apple Stakes at Saratoga!

PP Horse TwinSpires Odds Jockey Trainer
F Geroux B Cox
L Saez T Albertrani
J Leparoux I Wilkes
4 YES AND YES 15/1
J Velazquez D Donk
E Cancel M O’Connor
J Ortiz C Brown
I Ortiz Jr C Brown
8 ATONE 6/1
F Prat M Maker
J Castellano M Casse
10 CITY MAN 12/1
J Rosario C Clement
M Franco R Rodriguez
K Carmouche J Ferraro
L Saez W Mott

Forbidden Apple Stakes Predictions and Best Bets

Here are my plays ($60 in total)

$10 Exacta Box – Mira’s Mission, Set Piece and City Man = $60

If you’re playing only to win, go with my top pick Mira’s Mission (9/2).

Check out our Horse Racing Calculator to ensure your bets!



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Forbidden Apple Stakes Julien Leparoux

Juddmonte homebred Set Piece tops a wide open field of 13 entered in Friday’s Grade 3, Forbidden Apple on the turf at Saratoga.

Trained by Brad Cox, the 6-year-old gelding has won 10-of-20 races lifetime, including four stakes races on the grass in his last seven starts.

Most recently, the English-bred son of Dansili rallied from well back to score a 1 1/4-length score in the Grade 2 Dinner Party on Preakness Day at Pimlico.

Chief among his competition will be the Ian Wilkes-trained Mira’s Mission. A winner of the Grade 3 Canadian Turf three starts back at Gulfstream Park, he then traveled to Kentucky to run well in back-to-back Grade 1 races.

The 4-year-old Noble Mission gelding narrowly missed last time by a neck to Santin in the Grade 1 Turf Classic on the Kentucky Derby card at Churchill Downs.

The always dangerous Chad Brown will saddle two in the one-mile Forbidden Apple with Public Sector and Analyze It.

Public Sector scored two stakes wins at Saratoga last summer in the Grade 2 Hall of Fame and Grade 3 Saranac, and was a competitive third in the one-mile Grade 3 Poker last month at Belmont.

Three-time graded stakes winner Analyze It comes in off a rallying third in the Cliff Hanger at Monmouth in his seasonal debut.

Forbidden Apple Stakes Predictions and Race Analysis

Set Piece

After coming up a little short in the Grade 1 Maker’s Mark Mile in his seasonal debut, this Brad Cox-trainee looked as good as ever last time when rolling home a sharp winner of the Grade 2 Dinner Party Stakes at Pimlico.

Bred in England, he was very good last year, including a rallying second-place finish in the Grade 1 Fourstardave at Saratoga. He will also have a solid early pace unfold in front of him to set up his late kick.

The likely favorite, he is the one to beat, and a must use in the exotics, but he is not quite my top pick.

Mira’s Mission

A winner of 5-of-11 lifetime on the turf, this son of Noble Mission continues to improve for trainer Ian Wilkes. A good allowance horse, who turned in two solid performances at Saratoga last summer, he has really taken things up a notch this year as a 4-year-old.

A rallying winner of two straight early this year at Gulfstream Park, including the Grade 3 Canadian Turf, he has made a competitive transition to Grade 1 racing in his last two.

Not far out of it in the Maker’s Mark Mile at Keeneland, he ran a bang-up second last time on Kentucky Derby Day. I still believe he will offer some value here in this tough Grade 3 test. He is the top pick.

Public Sector

The first of two from the powerful barn of Chad Brown, this one made hay last summer and fall with three consecutive graded stakes wins, including two at Saratoga. All those came against fellow 3-year-olds, though, and he has yet to break through against older horses.

Coming off three straight defeats, including a third last time in the Poker, I am looking elsewhere on Friday. He is a threat, but at the odds, I don’t believe he will offer great value.


This one from the barn of Mike Maker set all the pace in the Dinner Party before getting swept past by Set Piece. It was another solid effort for a horse who has had a series of them since winning an allowance race last summer at Saratoga.

Because of that, he is certainly one to strongly consider on Friday, but his best chance will be to come from off the pace. If he goes after the early lead here, he will likely get burned out in what promises to be a very strong early pace.

Get Smokin

This son of Got Stormy loves to go right out to the early lead and often proves tough to run down. Experienced in graded stakes races, and coming off a strong second last time in his first race back since a trip overseas, he is usually a horse I would like.

This field, though, is loaded with early speed, and I see that as a big negative towards his chances here. I will look for him next time with less early speed in the race, but I am laying off him in this one.

Analyze It

This 7-year-old gelded son of Point of Entry has plenty of back class. Trained by Chad Brown, he was less than a length from victory in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, but that effort came nearly four years ago. He’s missed a lot of time since, and has never quite run back to that effort.

In his second start of the year he could be a dangerous horse, but another one who likes to be part of the early pace. At his best, he could win this, but I just haven’t seen enough of him in the last two years to expect him to win over a field like this.

Wolfie’s Dynaghost

Another speed horse, this well-bred son of  Ghostzapper ran a very good race last out to hold on for second in the Grade 3 Poker at Belmont Park. He’s not the most consistent horse in the world, but he has talent and runs big on occasion.

Unfortunately, looking at the pace set up of this race, I have a hard time believing that he can fire another big effort like he did last time. He will be one that I can’t support in the Forbidden Apple.

City Man

Trained by Christophe Clement, this one had all sorts of trouble last time when seventh in the Kingston Stakes for New York-breds. Before that he caught a turf course he didn’t like in the Grade 2 Fort Marcy. If you can forgive those two excusable losses, he becomes very usable.

Three starts back he was a nice winner of the Danger’s Hour going one mile at Aqueduct. Top rider Joel Rosario has already ridden him to a pair of stakes wins, including last summer at Saratoga.

With the ability to pass horses and coming off a horrid trip, I think he has a shot on Friday. He is the longshot that I like best and will include in my wagers.

Yes and Yes

More speed for the fire, as this son of Sidney’s Candy has been a pace presence in three straight sprints to begin 2022. The good news is that he has won them all for new trainer David Donk.

Considering the winning streak, he must be considered here as he moves up into graded stakes company, but with so much other speed, it would seem that he will have his work cut out for him as soon as they spring the gates.

Sanctuary City

This one has knocked heads with my top longshot City Man on numerous occasions and usually in New York-bred races, with some success. Most recently in the rivalry, he finished ahead of him in the Kingston, but was no match for him in the Danger’s Hour.

Coming off a decent run last time in the Poker, he is one of many here with a shot, but of the New York-breds, I clearly prefer City Man.


Another New York-bred, he’s been primarily a sprinter in his career, and will look to stretch out to the flat mile distance on Friday. He pulled off a 15/1 surprise two starts back, winning the Elusive Quality on the Belmont Park turf.

Facing tougher in his most recent start, he finished eleventh in the Grade 1 Jaipur last time. Overall, he has a very good record on the turf, but most of those have come against far easier competition. I like others better.

Clear Vision

Another runner with early speed, this 6-year-old gelding earned a stakes victory early this year in front-running fashion in the Grade 3 Tropical Turf at Gulfstream Park. Claimed three different times last year, he has not looked nearly as good since that win, backing out of the last three.

Things only get tougher here, and with all the other speed in the race, I find him hard to recommend in this Grade 3 test.

Art Collector

As a Main Track Only entrant, this Grade 1 winner will only run if the race is taken off the turf and moved to dirt. If it happens, he becomes a very likely winner, but with little rain expected, he will most likely be scratched.



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How to Watch the Forbidden Apple Stakes

Forbidden Apple Stakes Race Information
Race Forbidden Apple Stakes (Grade 3)
Location Saratoga
Time Friday, July 15 — 5:39pm Eastern time
How to Watch Fox Sports
Purse $175,000
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Brian Zipse

Horse Racing Betting Analyst

Horse Racing
Betting Picks
Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.
Nationality: American
Education: Bachelor of Communications
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