12/01/2010 12:29PM

Black enjoyed trip to Japan more than Fifty Proof did

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario —Trainer Ian Black is back on Canadian soil following his second journey to Japan, where he sent out Fifty Proof for last Sunday’s Japan Cup at Tokyo Racecourse.

“We had a great trip,” said Black. “We had a wonderful time. Great hosts, lovely people.”

Fifty Proof’s reception was not quite so hospitable, as the 4-year-old gelding gave way in the final furlong to finish last of 18 in the Grade 1 Japan Cup with his regular rider Justin Stein in the irons.

“He was sitting second, third, up on the outside,” said Black, who trains the Ontario-sired Fifty Proof for David Willmot, Ben Hutzel, and John Fielding. “It looked like he was in good position, turning for home.

“He got bumped pretty good then, but we can’t really use that as an excuse. They came the last three-eighths in 33 and change; they just swamped him.”

Fifty Proof was scheduled to fly into New York and then on to Payson Park in Florida, where he will spend the winter with Black’s contingent.

“Right now, the plan would be to bring him home to start racing him again next year,” said Black. “He could run once, on the way up. We’ll see how he is.”

While he did not win a stakes race, Fifty Proof was a very pleasant surprise for the Black barn this year.

After beginning the season in a restricted allowance for nonwinners of three at six furlongs on the main track, Fifty Proof went on to perform competitively in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer and Grade 1 Canadian International over 1 1/2 miles of turf.

“When it’s all said and done I think he’ll be okay going a mile, a mile and a sixteenth, a mile and an eighth on the grass,” said Black. “But I don’t think he has to be on turf, either.”

Rahy’s Attorney draws post 12 for Tropical Turf

Rahy’s Attorney, who finished ninth of 18 as Black’s first Japanese starter in the 2008 Mile Championship at Kyoto Racecourse, has been entered in Saturday’s Grade 3 Tropical Turf Handicap at Calder.

The $150,000 Tropical Turf, a 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds and upward, attracted 16 entrants but only 12 can start and Rahy’s Attorney drew post 12.

Rahy’s Attorney, a Ontario-sired homebred 6-year-old gelding who races for Joe and Ellen MacLellan and partners, is coming into the Tropical Turf with earnings of $1,921,392 (Canadian) based on a record of 12-7-4 from 34 starts. His two wins this year came in Woodbine’s With Approval and Bunty Lawless.

Rahy’s Attorney has been at Payson Park for the past couple of weeks with Rachel Halden, who worked as an assistant for absentee trainer Bill Mott here this year and is managing Black’s Florida outfit again this winter.

Career-best earnings for Black

In the meantime, Black is pleased with his barn’s performance at the waning meeting.

“It was a good year,” said Black, who had sent out 22 winners heading into Wednesday night’s program and had his entrants bring home almost $2.3 million.

“We’d have liked to have won more races but we’ve won seven stakes. It’s the best year we’ve had, purse-wise.”

In addition to Rahy’s Attorney, Black’s stakes winners here were Southdale, with a pair, and Stormy Lord, Glitter Rox and Don’s Folly..

The 4-year-old colt Southdale and 6-year-old mare Glitter Rox both have been retired to the breeding shed.

Costigan made most of limited opportunities

Trainer Carolyn Costigan, who is winding up her first full training campaign, has saddled just one winner at the meeting.

But there are many who would trade places with Costigan as that winner was Roan Inish, who captured the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks and then followed up with a third-place finish in the $1 million Queen’s Plate in what turned out to be her final start of the season.

“I was very lucky to have a horse who was able to showcase what I could do,” said the 29-year-old Costigan, who had no more than five or six horses at any point here this year with her principal client being her father, Bob Costigan. “There are plenty of trainers who have never had that opportunity.”

Costigan, who had been successful with her very first entrant when Roan Inish won the Princess Elizabeth last fall, was back for this year’s Princess Elizabeth with Lisvernane, who finished second in what was her best effort in four starts to date.

On Saturday, Lisvernane will be racing at the same 1 1/16-mile distance and looking to break through in the $150,000 Ontario Lassie for Ontario-foaled 2-year-olds.

“She’s doing really well,”: said Costigan. “She’s a pleasure to work with.”

Lisvernane was racing with blinkers on for the Princess Elizabeth and was ridden for the first time by David Moran, the Irish jockey who flew over to pilot Roan Inish in the Princess Elizabeth and each of her three starts this year.

“Omar Moreno, who rode her in her start before, said she was lugging out a little bit down the backstretch,” said Costigan. “I just wanted to ensure she didn’t do the same thing. She’s young, and she’s used to galloping out in that part of the track.

“I also wanted to use them with the front visor, to keep the Polytrack out of her eyes.”

Plans for Roan Inish uncertain

Meanwhile, Roan Inish has been sent to Mill Ridge Farm in Kentucky along with her dam, Inish Glora.

While Inish Glora is slated to be bred to Arch, who is the sire of Lisvernane, Roan Inish’s future has yet to be determined.

“She’ll get some rest there, and then Bob will decide whether he wants to bring her back into training or wants to breed her,” said Costigan.

“If she did come down to me at Palm Meadows, it wouldn’t be until the end of February.”

Costigan, who was based at San Luis Rey Downs in California last winter, has seven stalls for her first venture to Palm Meadows.

“That will probably force me to come up to Woodbine a little bit sooner,” said Costigan. “I’m going to be expanding my stable a little bit. I’m looking forward to new clients I’m going to have in the barn.”

Some of that new blood will come through Arravale Racing Inc., which is in the business of buying and training racehorses.

“I’m trying to gear the company bit more toward introducing new people to the game,” said Costigan, who is the president of Arravale and noted that some first-time owners were involved in the purchase of a $39,000 yearling here at last Saturday’s local mixed sale.

Funeral services for Passero

A funeral mass will be held for Frank Passero at 11:30 a.m. Friday at St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church, 310 Central Ave., Fort Erie.

Visitation was to be available on Thursday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Benner Funeral Services, 1105 Benner Ave., Fort Erie.

Passero, who won 2,061 races in a training career than spanned 45 years, died at age 77 on Tuesday following a long struggle with cancer.