04/11/2003 12:00AM

Woodbine: Rare Friends leads throughout

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Rare Friends shook clear on the lead and never looked back in the $134,875 Jacques Cartier Stakes at Woodbine, winning the six-furlong race by 3 1/2 lengths.

Rare Friends set fractions of 21.80 seconds and 44.71 over a track favoring inside speed, and completed the distance in 1:11.22 with Patrick Husbands aboard.

Favored Wild Whiskey chased Rare Friends on the backstretch, but he began to tire on the turn and finished fourth. Pop Rocks won a head bob with Forever Grand to finish second, while Lead By Example trailed in the five-horse field. Cheap Talk was scratched.

Rare Friends, the 2001 champion 2-year-old in Canada, returned $6 and earned $80,925. He is trained by Bob Tiller, who owns the horse in partnership with Frank DiGiulio Jr.

"I told Patrick to go to the lead, and if [Wild Whiskey] gets headed, he might quit, and he did," Tiller said.