03/25/2005 1:00AM

Destiny Calls back for encore in Red Camelia


NEW ORLEANS - Reigning Louisiana-bred female champion Destiny Calls will give her fans at Fair Grounds one more look at an equine celebrity Sunday on the final day of the 2004-05 meet in the $100,000 Red Camelia Handicap, which she won last year.

, 5, led all the way in last year's renewal of the one-mile turf race for Louisiana-bred fillies and mares. Destiny Calls came out of that race with physical problems that sidelined her until October, when she returned and won the Victoria Stakes at Louisiana Downs.

Destiny Calls won her first start of the current Fair Grounds meet, but a speed duel on a tiring track took its toll and her trainer, Gary Palmisano, talked about passing on the Louisiana Champions Day Ladies. A few days before the Ladies her connections decided to run. She turned in a game runner-up performance to the undefeated Happy Ticket in the Ladies. In her next race, a turf sprint in open company, Destiny Calls was out of gas, finishing seventh.

"I probably shouldn't have run her in that race," said Palmisano. "The two races before were very hard on her."

Within five weeks Destiny Calls was back, winning the $150,000 Louisiana Premier Distaff at Delta Downs. She returned to Fair Grounds to blast foes in an off-the-turf allowance race for statebreds, and now goes for the Red Camelia.

Her main rival could be , who won't let Robby Albarado dictate an easy pace on Destiny Calls. Vitamin Bag returned in January with two front-running victories on the grass before setting the pace and fading to third in her last start.

"Both horses have a lot of speed and that worries me," said Palmisano. "The early part of the race will be key, because if we get into a speed duel we might both be in trouble."

In Sunday's supporting feature, Native Malagra tops the $20,000 Magnolia State Handicap, a restricted six-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up.

Native Malagra's explosive speed has led to three consecutive victories and prompted interest in the 4-year-old Mr. Secretary gelding from potential buyers.

"I've had a couple of people try to buy him after his last race, but we turned them down," said trainer Ronnie Ward. "Everybody wants a 'big horse' and we've got high hopes for him."