Gala Goldilocks, the best young Maryland-bred sprinter of her sex, takes a turn into the unknown today. With a divisional title at hand, she will try almost the entire Laurel Race Course oval for the first go-round.

Gala Goldilocks has won three straight starts by a combined 18 1/2 lengths, but she has yet to race around two turns. She'll get that chance in the $150,000 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship, a

1 1/16-mile race in which she's sure to be the 2-year-old filly of choice.

Three of today's six opponents followed her -- at a distance -- to the wire in the recent What A Summer Stakes, but the Juvenile Filly will have a slightly different look in distance and the presence of The Knight's Queen. Trainer Ben Perkins Jr. has brought her to Laurel with his distinguished stable, and the filly appears to have enough speed to vie with the front-running Gala Goldilocks, at least for a while.

Nicki adopted that role in the What A Summer and ended up second, seven lengths behind Gala Goldilocks. She stands to improve off that race, which was only her second, and at a distance preferred by her stakes-winning dam Toes Knows.

Trainer Jim Simpson said he's not asking too much too soon of Nicki, the first foal produced by Toes Knows, whom he trained. "How in the hell are you ever going to pick spots better than these Maryland-bred races, especially when they hang all that money in front of you?" he said. "You're nuts if you don't try it."

Mary Clark Dies at 84

Mary Clark, wife of Hall of Fame trainer Henry Clark, died suddenly yesterday morning at their home in Glyndon, Md. She was 84.

Visitation hours are Saturday, 7-9 p.m., and Sunday, 3-5 and 7-9 p.m., at Eckhardt Funeral Chapel in Owings Mills. A funeral mass will be held Monday at 10 a.m. at Sacred Heart Church in Glyndon. . . .

The horse injured in Monday's barn fire at Pimlico was given a lethal injection after suffering from smoke inhalation. The filly, a 2-year-old by Tim the Tiger out of Lady Climber, had not even been named. "There was no hope whatsoever" of saving her, trainer Bill Albright said.

Willie Coleman, Pimlico's director of security, said track and safety officials were continuing their investigation of the fire, but that no arrests had been made. Experts suspect arson. . . .

With Laurel's racing surface continuing to play fast, Ebonizer set a 6 1/2-furlong track record with an allowance victory in 1:15 2/5. The 3-year-old ridden by Marco Castaneda advanced along the rail, took the lead after a half-mile and held off Air Attack to win the $21,000 race by 1 1/2 lengths. The previous mark of 1:15 4/5 was set by Beth's Bonus in October 1988.