Updated on 09/17/2011 11:01AM

Variety spices Suwannee smorgasbord


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Sunday's $100,000 Suwannee River Handicap is an ending for Calista and Amonita, who are both headed to the breeding shed after the race. It could also be a beginning for Party Queen, who makes her stakes debut in the Grade 3 race.

Then again, the nine-furlong Suwannee River could be just another notch in the holster of Stay Forever, who has been on a roll since returning from a bowed tendon that sidelined her for 18 months.

Calista is about two lengths away from being undefeated in her six North American starts for trainer Christophe Clement. She has won the Grade 2 Canadian Handicap, the ungraded Spicy Living Handicap, and an allowance race. She was twice beaten a head in Grade 3 stakes and finished 1 1/2 lengths back in the New Castle Handicap at Delaware, a race in which she was interfered with and placed second.

In her last start, the Grade 3 Honey Fox, she finished a head behind San Dare in a race in which she lacked room on the turn.

"She was a bit unlucky, but I thought she ran well," Clement said. "She's a good filly."

John Velazquez will ride Calista, the 118-pound highweight, from post 4.

Clement will also saddle Amonita in the Suwannee River. Amonita finished sixth as the favorite in the Honey Fox, but Clement blames that on the fact the turf wasn't to her liking. Though the turf was listed as firm, Clement believes that wasn't the case. Jean-Luc Samyn rides from post 5.

Clement said Calista will be bred to Gone West, while Amonita is scheduled for a date with Kingmambo.

Party Queen has won 4 of 5 starts and demonstrated an explosive closing kick winning a third-level allowance race here on Jan. 15. She is 2 for 3 over the course, and makes her first attempt at nine furlongs.

"I think this will answer our questions," trainer Vicki Oliver said. "If she runs a very good race on Sunday, we'll plan to put her on a stakes program for the rest of the year. We'll spot her lightly. We don't want to do too much early and not have a horse for the end of the year."

Since returning from a bowed tendon, Star Forever has won 5 of 6 starts with her lone loss coming against colts in the Bonnie Heath Stakes last Nov. 16. In January, she rallied from last to win the Sunshine Millions Turf despite missing eight days of training leading up to the race.

Queue, What a Price, Hi Tech Honeycomb, Peanut Gallery, and Sparkling Ava complete the field.

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