08/21/2003 11:00PM

Too Late Now takes turf shot

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Labatt Woodbine Oaks winner Too Late Now will take to the turf Sunday at Woodbine in the $149,375 Ontario Colleen Handicap for 3-year-old fillies.

Too Late Now, an obscurely bred daughter of Raj Waki, won the first four starts of her career this spring. She tracked the pace en route to a decisive score in the Grade 1 Selene Stakes on May 19, and led throughout the $500,000 Oaks on June 8.

Too Late Now suffered her first loss in her most recent race in the July 1 Bison City Stakes at Fort Erie, in which she finished third under regular rider Robert Landry. Trainer Jim Day took the blame for her subpar showing.

"We made a mess of that race, with me directing the plan and Landry executing it," Day explained. "We thought we had to duplicate a race very similar to the Selene, where we took her off the pace."

The Bison City, said Day, "began fine. He got her back early, but the pace was extremely slow, and she didn't want to sit behind horses. She started to drag him through the field around the far turn, and he stuck with our plan, but if he had just let her run at that point, it might have worked out okay."

Day said he gave Too Late Now some time off on the farm after the Bison City. "She looks better," he said, noting that her lean frame doesn't usually carry much weight. "She thrived at the farm."

Day said he is unsure as to how Too Late Now will handle the grass, a surface she has never raced over. "She's never trained on it, and she doesn't eat it very well," Day joked. "Most of Raj Waki's babies run better on the grass than they do on the dirt."

Hour of Justice could vie for favoritism with Too Late Now in the one-mile Colleen. She has lost just once in five starts, and was an easy winner of the Alywow Stakes in her lone turf race.

The Colleen will be Hour of Justice's first attempt beyond 6 1/2 furlongs. Trainer Reade Baker said he isn't concerned with the stretchout in distance.

"She's been very tractable in her recent races," Baker said, "so I don't think the distance will be a problem."

* First Quarter, another comebacker trained by Day, is entered in Sunday's supporting feature, the $106,000 Belle Geste Stakes. All six fillies and mares in the nine-furlong turf event are stakes winners.