Clement Sends Double Trouble in Suwannee River

(from track report)
Trainer Christophe Clement sends two in Sunday's $100,000 Suwannee River Handicap (gr. IIIT), and that might be enough to get the job done.

Clement will saddle Calista, beaten by a head in the Honey Fox Handicap (gr. III) last out, and Amonita, sixth as the favorite in the Honey Fox, in the 1 1/8-mile turf test for fillies and mares. Because they have different ownership, the two mares will go as separate betting interests in this 54th running of the Suwannee River.

The two Clement horses will have to beware of Stay Forever, winner of the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf at Gulfstream in her last start on Jan. 25, and Party Queen who rates respect in her turf debut.

The Leigh Family Stable's Calista will be the starting high weight in the Suwannee River at 118 pounds. Haras du Mezeray's Amonita and Santa Cruz Ranch's Stay Forever will tote 117 each.

In the handicap at 114 are Robins & Weiss' Queue, Kay Hale's What a Price, Select Stable's Hi Tech Honeycomb, and G. Watts Humphrey Jr.'s Party Queen. The low weights at 113 are Lee Pokoik's Peanut Gallery and Barry K. Schwartz's Sparkling Ava.

Calista, an English-bred daughter of Caerleon, has three wins, two seconds and a third in six starts since coming to the U.S. in October of 2001. The Honey Fox, where she lost to double stakes winner San Dare, was her first start since she won the Canadian Handicap (gr. II) at Woodbine last Sept. 8. John Velazquez will pick up the mount for the first time.

Amonita, also an English-bred, has won two of four since coming from Europe last summer. She took a turf stake at Calder in December and went into the Honey Fox as the 7-5 favorite with Jerry Bailey aboard. She reached the lead in midstretch, but had nothing left for the drive and faded to sixth. Amonita has had some steady work at Payson Park since that Jan. 5 start and gets Jean-Luc Samyn in the boot for the first time.

Both Calista and Amonita are reportedly headed for the breeding shed after Sunday's race.

Marty Wolfson trains Stay Forever, a 6-year-old daughter of Stack who won four of her five starts last year, including two stakes at Calder. In the Sunshine Millions race at 1 1/8 mile, Stay Forever overcame a poor start and made up ground with a rush in the stretch, drawing off to win by more than a length. Jose Santos, who guided her that day, is back aboard to direct the mare's late-closing charge.

Party Queen, a 4-year-old Cozzene filly who has always had great potential, is making just her sixth career start. She's won four of five for trainer Vicki Oliver, and has two wins in three starts at Gulfstream. If she's in form, Party Queen could be the party pooper for the favorites. Mark Guidry, who has been aboard in all her starts, gets the call again.

$100,000 Suwannee River Handicap (gr. IIIT), fillies & mares 3 & up, 1 1/8-mile on turf

PP. HORSE (Bred), Wt., Jockey, ML Odds
1. QUEUE (Ky), 114, Rene Douglas, 10-1
2. WHAT A PRICE (Ky), 114, Cornelio Velasquez, 12-1
3. HI TECH HONEYCOMB (Ky), 114, Manoel R. Cruz, 8-1
4. CALISTA (GB), 118, John Velazquez, 3-1
5. AMONITA (GB), 117, Jean-Luc Samyn, 5-2
6. PEANUT GALLERY (Ky), 113, Jorge Chavez, 12-1
7. PARTY QUEEN (Ky), 114, Mark Guidry, 6-1
8. SPARKLING AVA (NY), 113, Gary Boulanger, 20-1
9. STAY FOREVER (Fl), 117, Jose Santos, 4-1