Too Late Now Favored in Woodbine Oaks

(from Woodbine track report)
Come By Chance Stable's Too Late Now has been established as the 8-5 morning line favorite for Sunday's $500,000 Labatt Woodbine Oaks, the premier event for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies.

The 1 1/8-mile contest attracted a field of 11 fillies, each carrying 121 pounds.

Trained by Jim Day, Too Late Now heads into the Oaks undefeated in three starts, including an impressive score in the $250,000-added Selene Stakes on May 19 at Woodbine.

Too Late Now began her racing career in fine fashion, breaking her maiden on April 5 at the Toronto oval, a 4 1/2-length score at odds of 17-1. The daughter of Raj Waki has $241,110 in earnings.

For the Labatt Woodbine Oaks, in which she drew post five, the bay will once again be paired with her regular rider Robert Landry, a two-time winner of the Oaks (2000 with Catch The Ring and in 1997 aboard Capdiva). The veteran rider was recently named the 2003 recipient of the prestigious Avelino Gomez Memorial Award, which he'll receive in a presentation on Oaks day.

"She loves to run and gives it 100% every time she goes out there," Landry said, of Too Late Now. "She has so much class. Every day I walk by the barn and go to her stall and give her a little pat on the head. You can tell she's got class. She's a nice horse and tries so hard."

Landry, a winner of over 1,700 career races, is anything but nervous heading into Sunday's event. "I'm pretty confident. I have a good horse underneath me. I'm confident if I can get her a clean trip – Jimmy will have her ready – that she'll get the job done."

Pegged as the 3-1 second choice is Sam-Son Farm's Seeking The Ring, a talented daughter of Seeking The Gold trained by two-time Oaks winner Mark Frostad (2001, Dancethruthedawn; 2000, Catch The Ring). The bay filly, who will contest her fourth lifetime start in the Oaks, drew post six.

"She's a nice filly," said Frostad. "Whether she's good enough to beat (Too Late Now), I don't know. She'll have to do her talking at the races."

Mountain Dawn, a winner in two of her nine career starts, has picked up check in all of her races to date, including a neck victory in her first start of 2003, a seven-furlong score on April 13. The Mac Benson-trainee, who has three runner-up finishes in stakes events (Shady Well, Princess Elizabeth and Fury), will leave from post three. David Clark, who'll compete in his 19th Oaks, will be aboard the chestnut filly.

Trainer John Ross, who last made an Oaks appearance in 1990 with Victorian Reign (ninth), sends out 8-1 fourth choice, Brattothecore (post 10). The Jam Jar Racing Stable color-bearer has won three of her four career starts, including a 2 1/4-length triumph in the Ontario Lassie Stakes on Nov. 24 at Canada's Showplace of Racing.

Rounding out the field are Buffalo Jump (post four, 15-1), Appleby Gardens (post 11, 20-1), Deputy Cures Blues (post nine, 20-1), Kissed By A Prince (post one, 20-1), Macdashi (post seven, 20-1), Santerra (post eight, 20-1) and Kabul (post two, 30-1).

The Labatt Woodbine Oaks, won by Ginger Gold in 2002, is the first leg of the Triple Tiara. It will be followed by the Bison City Stakes July 1 at Fort Erie and the Wonder Where Stakes Aug. 5 at Woodbine. A $350,000 bonus will be awarded to the filly that wins all three events.

The winner of the race receives $300,000.

$500,000 Labatt Woodbine Oaks, 3 year-old fillies bred in Canada, 1 1/8 mile
1/Kissed By A Prince/Heather Landymore/Mike DePaulo/Dino Luciani
2/Kabul/Fieldstone Farms/Jake Nemett/Jono Jones
3/Mountain Dawn/Mike Ambler & Partners/Mac Benson/David Clark
4/Buffalo Jump/Eaton Hall Farm/Josie Carroll/Jim McAleney
5/Too Late Now/Come By Chance/Jim Day/Robert Landry
6/Seeking The Ring/Sam-Son Farm/Mark Frostad/Todd Kabel
7/Macdashi/Lucky Chance/Robert Franz Crean/Simon Husbands
8/Santerra/Ted Burnett/Mike Mattine/Constant Montpellier
9/Deputy Cures Blues/Herbert Chambers/Scott McCulloch/Steven Bahen
10/Brattothecore/Jam Jar Racing Stable/John Ross/Jake Barton
11/Appleby Gardens/Eugene & Laura Melnyk/Mark Casse/Patrick Husbands