11/02/2009 1:00AM

Costigan records trio of firsts


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Carolyn Costigan couldn't have scripted a more soaring beginning to her training career.

Costigan, a 28-year-old native of Ireland, was saddling her first official starter when Roan Inish won last Saturday's $251,200 Princess Elizabeth here by a length.

"It was pretty awesome," Costigan said. "It was a pretty special day. A couple of people have told me I should retire, that I started at the top and should keep it that way."

Roan Inish had made her first three starts in Ireland and arrived in Canada with her trainer one week before the Princess Elizabeth, a 1 1/16-mile race for Canadian-bred 2-year-old fillies. Her jockey, David Moran, also traveled across the pond and was making his North American debut.

Roan Inish, owned by Costigan's father, Bob Costigan, is a homebred daughter of Inish Glora, who was Canada's champion turf female in 2003 and 2004.

Costigan graduated in 2007 from the Darley Flying Start program, an international venture that grooms a select group of applicants for careers in the Thoroughbred racing and breeding industries. Costigan went to work as an assistant to trainer Jim Bolger in Ireland. Roan Inish joined her there last year.

"We thought it would be pretty cool to send her to Ireland and have her in training with Jim Bolger," said Costigan, who passed her trainer's test in Vancouver this spring and took out her license here last week. "The intention was to try to get some black type for her there, because we own the mare and it would look good on her paper."

Having Roan Inish with Bolger also gave Costigan the opportunity to become thoroughly familiar with the filly through her preparations for a racing career.

"I knew everything about her when she started," Costigan said. "I'd ridden her almost every day I'd been there."

Roan Inish arrived here as a maiden, with her latest outing an eighth-place finish in a Group 3 stakes, and had never set foot on a synthetic surface. Last Wednesday, the filly breezed three furlongs in 39.80 seconds.

"That was just to wake her up a little bit," Costigan said. "It was the first time she breezed without company.

"Once she has her sights set on a horse, all she needs is that. She's excellent that way, the same as her mother. If someone challenges her, she runs her eyeballs out."

Roan Inish certainly rose to the challenge in the Princess Elizabeth as she was off to a less-than-ideal beginning but got rolling around the far turn and closed strongly along the rail en route to a one-length victory.

"It was great to have David on her," Costigan said. "He's the second jockey for Jim Bolger. He's ridden her in day work and knows the horse inside out."

Roan Inish, who is Costigan's only horse here, could swing back in the $150,000 Glorious Song, an open seven-furlong race for 2-year-old fillies on Nov. 15. She then will join Costigan in California, where she has 20 stalls at San Luis Rey Downs.

Points of Grace scores on soft turf

Trainer Malcolm Pierce believed he had the bases covered with Much Obliged slated to go on Polytrack in last Saturday's $104,150 River Memories and Points of Grace on deck for soft turf.

"I really wasn't expecting the race to stay on turf," Pierce said. "I was planning all morning to scratch Points of Grace."

But the River Memories, an overnight stakes fillies and mares, did go as scheduled, and Points of Grace prevailed by a half-length over the mile of soft going under rider Luis Contreras.

Much Obliged, meanwhile, breezed four furlongs in 48 seconds here Saturday morning and was to be among the first load heading to New Orleans for Pierce on Monday.

Her target is the $60,000 Blushing K.D., a 1 1/16-mile turf stakes for fillies and mares on Friday's opening card of the Fair Grounds meeting.

Pierce planned to head south Monday and has 30 stalls at the New Orleans oval, which is his usual winter headquarters.

Points of Grace was scheduled to leave Tuesday for Ocala.

"She'll go for a well-deserved rest," Pierce said. "She's had a good year."

Jimmy Simms gets first stakes win

Trainer Roger Attfield kept pace with Pierce atop the stakes leader board when he recorded his 12th such win of the meeting with Jimmy Simms in Sunday's $106,400 Labeeb.

Jimmy Simms, a 4-year-old colt, won his first stakes in the Labeeb and ran his record to 5 for 5 in one-mile turf races when prevailing by a head under Jono Jones over the yielding going.

"A mile is a great distance for him," Attfield acknowledged. "He likes to run a little freely. We tried to rate him a bit in his last start and it wasn't the smartest thing to do."

Jimmy Simms had finished fifth in that outing, which came in the Grade 2 Play the King over a yielding course here Aug. 29.

"He'd trained well to this race, and we would have been the pace anyway," said Attfield, who had not looked beyond the Labeeb for his next move with Jimmy Simms.

Tribal Belle makes it four in a row

Tribal Belle recorded her second consecutive stakes score here in Sunday's $161,600 Ontario Fashion for fillies and mares.

Tribal Belle had won the Grade 3, seven-furlong Seaway under regular rider Jim McAleney before that on Sept. 5.

While trainer Terry Jordan would have raced Tribal Belle in the interim, the eight weeks between starts was not among his concerns.

"I entered her in the prep three times, and it never filled," Jordan said. "But this filly trains the way she wants to train. She does whatever she wants to do in the morning and when it comes time, she runs her race in the afternoon."

Jordan did admit to some concern over the fact that Tribal Belle was starting from post 2 and had the other expected speed outside her in the six-furlong Ontario Fashion. It didn't take long for Tribal Belle to make light of that potentially unfavorable scenario as she established command quickly and led throughout while drawing off to a 3 1/4-length tally.

"She can turn on the gas," Jordan said. "She's a big filly - for her size, I'm surprised she can go that fast."

Tribal Belle is scheduled to make her next start here Nov. 22 in the $150,000 Bessarabian and is undefeated in three main-track starts here at that race's seven-furlong distance.