06/04/2003 11:00PM

Unbeaten Too Late Now pick in Sunday's Woodbine Oaks


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Too Late Now, perfect in three starts and coming off a smashing performance in the Grade 1 Selene Stakes, is the horse to beat in Sunday's $500,000 Labatt Woodbine Oaks.

At a ceremonial draw here Thursday, with top Canadian female athletes Hayley Wickenheiser and Jennifer Robinson the guests of honor, a field of 11 Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies was announced for the 1 1/8-mile Oaks.

Too Late Now, trained by Jim Day for the Come By Chance Stable of his mother, Edna Arrow, drew post 5 and is Daily Racing Form's morning-line favorite at 6-5. Robert Landry retains the mount.

"I don't think post position is highly significant going a mile and an eighth," said Day, "but if you had to choose one, 5 is good."

Although beaten 5 3/4 lengths when fourth in the Selene, Sam-Son Farm's Seeking the Ring could play a spoiler's role as the second choice here Sunday.

Seeking the Ring, whose career began at Keeneland this April, had graduated impressively in her second outing there and the Selene was her first try around two turns.

Todd Kabel, who already has won seven stakes at the meeting, returns aboard Seeking the Ring, who will break from post 6.

Another filly who will attract support is Mountain Dawn, owned by Mike Ambler and partners, who placed in two 1 1/16-mile stakes here as a 2-year-old.

Mountain Dawn finished second in the seven-furlong Fury here May 4 before ending fifth, a half-length behind Seeking the Ring, in the Selene.

Rounding out the Oaks field will be Appleby Gardens, Brattothecore, Buffalo Jump, Deputy Cures Blues, Kabul, Kissed By a Prince, Macdashi and Santerra. All contestants carry 121 pounds.

Too Late now and Kissed By a Prince were the only supplemental nominees to the race, their connections putting up $5,000 payments May 1 to run.

The Labatt Woodbine Oaks will be televised live in a one-hour special beginning at 4:30 p.m. on Sportsnet's national network. Post time for the Oaks, which goes as the ninth race, is 5:10 p.m.

Victoria Park tops undercard

Sunday's program, which begins at 12:55 p.m., also will include the Victoria Park Stakes, an open 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds.

The Victoria Park is the last major prep for the $1 million Queen's Plate, a 1 1/4-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds here June 22.

Landry to be honored

Robert Landry, the recipient of this year's Avelino Gomez Memorial Award, will be honored in a trackside ceremony here Sunday.

The award goes to a jockey who was born or raised in Canada or has ridden regularly in the country for at least five years and has made a significant contribution to the sport.

Avelino Gomez, who was one of the most popular riders in Canadian racing history, died following a spill in the 1980 Canadian Oaks.

Tusayan impressive in Bold Ruckus

Tusayan won his maiden in a big way here Wednesday, taking the $139,000 Bold Ruckus Stakes under Emile Ramsammy in his first start on turf.

Tusayan had an ideal stalking trip in the six-furlong dash for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds. He split horses early in the stretch, and overhauled Dressed for Action nearing the sixteenth pole before drawing off to prevail by 2 3/4 lengths.

Dressed for Action held second after battling up front with Penthouse Prince through fractions of 23.26 and 47.14 seconds. Favored Battlements edged Penthouse Prince for third in the nine-horse field. The final time, over a course rated soft, was 1:12.02.

"We've been angling towards this race from the very beginning of the year," said trainer Laurie Silvera, who owns Tusayan in partnership with Srinivas Kilambi.

Tusayan returned $13.70, and earned $83,400.

* Soaring Free blew away high-quality opposition in Wednesday's supporting feature, an allowance prep for the Nearctic Handicap. In a race taken off the turf and run in the slop, Soaring Free ran six furlongs in 1:09.94 with Todd Kabel aboard.

- additional reporting by Ron Gierkink