Darlene's Friend cruises to win Toes Knows Stakes Four-year-old filly finishes 2/5 of second off track mark

January 03, 1998|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

The woman in the winner's circle with the biggest smile was Darlene Wilkerson. The 4-year-old filly posing next to her was Darlene's Friend. The connection was obvious.

After Darlene's Friend won the $35,000 Toes Knows Stakes yesterday at Laurel Park, the woman for whom the horse was named could manage only two words: "It's exciting."

The filly's trainer, Robert L. Beall, was effusive -- for him.

"She's got a lot of class, a lot of breeding," the usually stoic Beall said about the filly. "I figured she'd run just exactly the way she did."

That was fast -- 5 1/2 furlongs in 1 minute, 3 3/5 seconds, which was 2/5 of a second off the track record. Prevailing by 3 1/4 lengths over Miss Maggie, the 6-5 Darlene's Friend paid $4.40 to win.

Beall's farm in Davidsonville, Friend's Choice Farm, is the source for the second half of the winning filly's name. Darlene Wilkerson's father, William P. Hill, bred and owns the horse.

The Toes Knows Stakes -- named for an outstanding filly in the 1980s -- was for fillies and mares who had never won a stakes race. The victory was the fifth in 14 races for Darlene's Friend.

Pub Date: 1/03/98

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