09/18/2003 11:00PM

Twisted Wit awaits route


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Sunday's Swynford Stakes at Woodbine is shaping up as a showdown between San Diego Blowout and Estevan, who have turned in some of the most spectacular 2-year-old performance of the meeting.

One rival trainer with more than a passing interest in the proceedings is Bob Tiller.

Tiller is attempting to orchestrate a championship campaign for Twisted Wit, a 2-year-old gelding whom he has sent out to win his first three starts for owner Rolph Davis.

Twisted Wit was nominated to the Swynford, an open race at seven furlongs, but Tiller has elected to await other opportunities.

"We'll be looking to stretch him out somewhere," said Tiller, whose ultimate goal for Twisted Wit is the $250,000 Coronation Futurity, a 1 1/8-mile stakes for Canadian-bred 2-year-olds here Nov. 1.

In the interim, Twisted Wit could contest either the Grade 2, $250,000 Grey, an open race at 1 1/16 miles on the main track here Oct. 5, or the Cup and Saucer, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for Canadian-breds here Oct. 11.

Twisted Wit had his first taste of turf here last Sunday, working five furlongs in 1:01 on the firm training course.

"I wasn't thrilled, but I wasn't real unhappy" Tiller said. "I'm just trying to get a line on what route to go."

Third Day tunes up for Grey

Third Day, winner of the five-furlong Victoria Stakes via a disqualification in his debut back on June 14, will make his first start for owner Earle Mack in the Swynford.

Mark Casse, who sent out Third Day for Gaillardia Racing in the Victoria, was retained by Mack and had planned to run the colt here in the July 13 Colin at six furlongs.

But Third Day, a Kentucky-bred colt by Distorted Humor, was not entered in the Colin after coming down with a slight respiratory illness.

Third Day's name did go into the entry box for the Silver Deputy, a 6 1/2-furlong overnight stakes here Aug. 31, but that race failed to fill.

"It's been very frustrating," Casse said. "The allowance races haven't been going, and the stakes didn't go."

The Swynford is not the main objective for Third Day, whose major fall target is the Grey.

"He's a big horse, and it's very tough to keep him sound, and keep him doing good," Casse said. "He just needs to run.

"So, will he be at his best? No, not on Sunday. I'm just hoping for him to run a respectable race, and use it as a steppingstone for the Grey."

Cut and Shoot, an impressive winner at five furlongs for Casse in his only start here Aug. 9, also had been nominated to the Swynford but is slated to make his next start in the Cup and Saucer.

Owned by Stonerside Stable, Cut and Shoot also had been entered in the Silver Deputy.

One Only Knows awaits La Lorgnette

Tiller had considered shipping One Only Knows to Vancouver for Saturday's $150,000 British Columbia Oaks, a 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-old fillies, but had a change of heart.

"I think she'd have had a little trouble with the turns there," said Tiller, with reference to the configuration of the five-furlong Hastings oval. "We're going to stay here, and take a shot at the La Lorgnette."

One Only Knows, owned by Tiller in partnership with Greg Thompson, has won 4 of 8 starts and $196,564 since beginning her career here April 5. She would be making her stakes debut in the $125,000 La Lorgnette, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies.

Minor surgery for Too Late Now

Too Late Now, who had been on the verge of heading west for the B.C. Oaks, will not see action again this season.

"Unfortunately, she's ended up with a little chip in her knee," said Jim Day, who trains Too Late Now for the Come By Chance Stable of his mother, Edna Arrow.

"I think, as chips go, it's hopefully relatively minor. We'll give her a little bit of time, just to unwind a bit. She'll be going for surgery in about two weeks, to get it cleaned up.

"We'll know more after the surgery is completed, but I don't think it's a big issue. It's probably been a bit of a nagging thing, I'm guessing, for the last few weeks."

Too Late Now debuted here April 5 and, just over two months later, was undefeated in four starts, including the Grade 1 Selene and the Labatt Woodbine Oaks.

After tasting defeat for the first time when third in Fort Erie's Bison City, Too Late Now was sent to the farm to freshen up for a fall campaign.

But the filly had been a disappointment since returning, finishing 10th of 13 when trying turf for the first time in the one-mile Ontario Colleen here Aug. 24 and last of eight when facing older fillies and mares in the seven-furlong Seaway one week later.

Despite those blemishes, Too Late Now remains a leading candidate for a Sovereign Award in the 3-year-old filly division.

"She's been very good to us," Day said. "There's no need to be remorseful. The prognosis is good for next year."