Updated on 09/17/2011 11:37AM

Too Late Now's 'Waki' family history


It is not unusual for an old racehorse to be turned into a stable pony, but when that pony also doubles as a teaser, a stallion, and then sires a Grade 1 winner, well, you could just rip up the book on Thoroughbred breeding.

Too Late Now, owned and bred by Edna Arrow and trained by her son Jim Day, won the Grade 1 Selene Stakes at Woodbine May 19 and will be heavily favored to win the $500,000 Labatt Woodbine Oaks June 8.

The 3-year-old filly is by Day's own horse-of-all-trades Raj Waki and from the Ten Gold Pots mare Half of Everything, who was so badly deformed in a hind leg that she couldn't race.

Of course, Day has won the Oaks before, the last time with the world-class filly Dance Smartly, a regally bred daughter of Danzig who raced for the famed Sam-Son Farms.

But Too Late Now represents an intriguing twist in the newest chapter of Day's career.

Raj Waki was the second stallion that Day purchased in the early 1990's in order to mate to his broodmares.

Mr. Melair, a flashy chestnut son of Mr. Prospector from the graded stakes winner Melair, was the first. Day took Mr. Melair, a $12,000 purchase, to his Day by Day Farms in Everett, Ontario.

A $50,000 earner on the track, Mr. Melair was a natural at breeding mares, which surprised Day considering he had just come off the track.

"My farm manager told me that he started breeding like a champ," Day said. "But the next thing we knew, we did a test on him and found out he was sterile. Here it was May and we had no mares in foal and a dud of a stud."

Day put Mr. Melair back into training but the colt ran through a pack of geese on the track one morning and blew a suspensory in a foreleg.

Day sold him for a few thousand dollars at a Fasig-Tipton horses of racing age sale and immediately went shopping for another stallion.

The following winter he picked up the Miswaki horse Raj Waki, a minor stakes winner in England, for $8,000 at the Keeneland January sale.

Through 2000, Raj Waki had sired just a handful of winners from few foals and Day began to look for something else for the horse to do. He took him to the track and found out that "Raji" loved being a stable pony.

"He's about the nicest riding horse I've ever had," said Day, an accomplished Olympic equestrian rider.

Raj Waki spent the summer and fall at the track, accompanying babies to the gate and calming down nervous runners.

Meanwhile, Too Late Now's dam, Half of Everything, a 1995 foal, was bred in 1998 to Blue Ensign when Day and his fiancee Vickie Rix won a season to the Florida stallion. The resulting foal was the impressive-looking Busy Man, who flopped on the track because of his nerves and is now training to be an Olympic jumping horse.

Half of Everything's next foal was Too Late Now. The mare has a 2-year-old colt by Great Gladiator, named Man of Integrity, a yearling colt by Sky Classic, and a colt foal by Tethra.

When Too Late Now won her first three career starts, including the Selene, Day's phone began to ring.

"Raji's sex life is picking up," Day said. "He's breeding about 10 more mares this year than he did in the last two years."

Day said his mother, who is 85 and races under the Come by Chance stable name, is not interested in selling Too Late Now. He added that Raj Waki would return to the track again this summer to continue his pony duties.

o Gus Schickedanz has been named this year's recipient of The Blood-Horse Mint Julep Cup for his outstanding contribution to the Ontario breeding industry. The Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society has also announced that Les Pereira's Beclawat Stable has been named breeder of year for 2002. The awards are presented at the CTHS annual awards dinner and silent auction, benefiting LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, to be held June 14 at Rattlesnake Point Gold and Country Club. For tickets, call Julie Coulter at (416) 675-3602.