01/03/2003 12:00AM

Clement's one-two punch


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - For all the major turf stakes he has won in Florida, trainer Christophe Clement has never had a winner of the Honey Fox Handicap at Gulfstream Park.

Clement came closest four years ago when Lover's Knot was beaten just a neck by Colcon in the Honey Fox, which was then known as the Joe Namath Handicap.

Sunday, assuming the Grade 3 race stays on grass, Clement could very well get off his Honey Fox schneid when he sends out a pair of British-bred 5-year-old mares, Amonita and Calista, in the 1 1/16-mile, $100,000 race.

Like so many of Clement's top horses, Amonita and Calista were imported to the U.S. after moderate success in limited action in France earlier in their careers. Both have been quite productive since coming under Clement's care, with Amonita winning twice in three tries and Calista going 3 for 5.

Amonita was especially sharp in winning her last race, the restricted Snazzle Dazzle on Dec. 15 at Calder. That going-away victory is a main reason racing secretary Dave Bailey assigned Amonita highweight of 119 pounds, one more than her stablemate and three more than the next filly on the weights list, Allamerican Bertie.

Calista has accomplished more in the U.S., winning the Spicy Living and the Grade 2 Canadian at Woodbine, but she is unraced in nearly four months.

The Clement horses will be uncoupled for wagering purposes.

The prospect of less-than-firm turf appears probable for Sunday, even though little or no rain was forecast for the weekend. The lone turf race carded on the Friday opener at Gulfstream was transferred to the main track because of soggy conditions from heavy rain earlier in the week.

If the Honey Fox comes off the turf, then Allamerican Bertie, trained by Steve Flint, probably would become an immediate heavy favorite. Although she was superb in winning her career turf debut two races back, Allamerican Bertie is more accomplished on dirt, capturing the Grade 2 Falls City Handicap at Churchill Downs in her last start.

The Honey Fox, named for a 1980's turf star trained by Scotty Schulhofer, has been won by such standouts as Fieldy (1989-90), Apolda (1996), and Spook Express (2001).

The 11-race card also includes the $65,000 Dame Mysterieuse Stakes and three allowance races. Sugar Ray is the live entertainment.

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