Too Late Now stamped herself as a major contender for next month's Labatt Woodbine Oaks with a strong showing in Monday's $277,750 Selene Stakes at Woodbine Racecourse in Canada.Employing a strong late charge, Too Late Now, with Robert Landry in the irons, drew off in the final stages of the Victoria Day holidayevent, crossing the wire 2 1/2-lengths ahead of Handpainted and Winter Garden.The running time was 1:44.36 for 1 1/16 miles over a "fast" main track.Sent off at odds of 5-1, the Come By Chance Stable 3-year-old kept her undefeated record intact, hardly a surprise to the man in the saddle."She's been a real nice filly," said Landry, who won his second stakes race on the campaign. "From the first time I sat on her, she's trained well. She showed the signs of being a really good one."Winter Garden, Handpainted and U.S. invader Theology hooked up in an early duel for the lead, as the trio led the field to an opening quarter-mile in :22.98. Landry, who has been aboard the Ontario-bred daughter of Raj Waki for all three of her lifetime scores, kept Too Late Now rated just off the pacesetters in fourth, waiting for the ideal moment to make a move.As the nine-horse field rounded the final turn for home, Landry rallied his charge into second spot, eventually wearing down a game Handpainted to take top honours in the 50th edition of the Selene."She's been a pleasant bonus," said veteran conditioner Jim Day, who picked up his first stakes win in 2003. "Luckily, she ran the way she trains."
The victory, worth $166,650, boosts Too Late Now's lifetime bankroll to $241,100, a total that could increase significantly with a win in the Labatt Woodbine Oaks, Canadian thoroughbred racing's premier event for homebred 3-year-old fillies, on June 8."Hopefully, she stays well and we'll get another try at the Oaks" said Day, who has four Oaks wins to his name (Classy 'N Smart; 1984, Tilt My Halo; 1988, Tiffany's Secret; 1990 and Dance Smartly; 1991). Sam-Son Farm's Seeking The Ring, who finished fourth in her first race at the Toronto oval, is also eligible to contest next month's $500,000 Oaks.Too Late Now paid $13.60, $9.20 and $6.00 across the board, combining with Handpainted ($9.20 and $5.50) for a $143.20 exacta. Winter Garden ($4.50) rounded out a healthy $748.90 trifecta.