Forbidden Forest Bests Prime Cut in Friday Feature

Volunteer Racing’s Forbidden Forest outdueled Courtlandt Farms’ Prime Cut by a nose Friday’s $51,000 1 1/16-miles allowance optional claiming feature for 3-year-olds at Fair Grounds.

Ridden by Trey Agilar, Forbidden Forest made the pace with early splits of 25.15 and 50.31, lost the lead turning for home but came again willingly in the late stages to be narrowly best.

The winner, trained by Leo Gabriel Jr., accomplished the final distance in 1:47.33, increased his career earnings to $70,264 with his second win in seven lifetime starts and returned mutuels of $9, $3.60 and $2.40. 

Prime Cut, one of several highly regarded sophomores trained by Neil Howard, pressed the pace under jockey Jamie Theriot, gained the advantage briefly between calls, could not sustain the bid but finished a half-length to the good of Patricia Blass’s Bluegrass Jam.

That Jinks Fires trainee, ridden by James Graham, also garnered the lead briefly in the lane but could not match the top two in the last strides.

Prime Cut paid $2.60 and $2.20 in the second spot while Bluegrass Jam returned $2.60 in the show position.

Racing resumes Saturday at Fair Grounds with a 12-race program beginning at 12:40 p.m.