09/12/2012 1:36PM

Woodbine notes: Costigan going for spotlight again in Natalma


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Trainer Carolyn Costigan burst onto the scene here by winning the 2009 Princess Elizabeth with Roan Inish, her first official starter, and sending out that filly to win the following year’s Woodbine Oaks and to finish third in the Queen’s Plate.

While Costigan has kept a relatively low profile in the interim, that situation could change dramatically when she sends out Nancy O for Saturday’s Natalma Stakes.

The Natalma, for 2-year-old fillies, shares top billing on Saturday’s card with the Summer Stakes for 2-year-olds.

Both stakes are scheduled to be run over one mile on turf, offer Grade 2 status, purses of $250,000, and are part of the Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In series.

Costigan nominated Nancy O to both races, planning to enter the Summer in the event that the Natalma overfilled and her filly did not make the cut based on earnings to date.

The Natalma was oversubscribed, with 15 entrants, but Nancy O was in the main body of the field of 14 and will be back in with her own sex while making her third lifetime start under jockey David Moran.

“I thought she ran a hell of a race last time, against the colt,” said Costigan, who had sent out Nancy O to finish second, beaten a half-length by Are You Kidding Me, in the seven-furlong turf allowance prep for the Summer here Sept, 25.

“She didn’t break well, and spotted him a couple of lengths, but then she started to put it together at the end after she realized what was being asked of her.”

Nancy O had debuted just seven days before the Summer prep, finishing 8 1/2 lengths behind the winner as the fifth-place finisher in seven-furlong turf race for maiden fillies.

“She was very green,” said Costigan. “She hit the rail on the turn for home; she bounced off it.

“Davey said that at that point he decided he would just school her through the length of the stretch, teach her to go by a few horses.

“He took care of her. She learned a lot, and it took nothing out of her.”

Nancy O will be racing with Lasix for the first time in the Natalma, and Costigan arranged for the filly to be administered the medication before breezing four furlongs in 51.60 seconds on the training track here Sept. 6.

“It wasn’t so much a breeze to get fitness – it was a breeze to get her used to having Lasix in her system,” said Costigan.

Adding to Costigan’s enthusiasm is the fact that Nancy O is the first foal of Arravale, a Kentucky-bred owned by her father, Bob Costigan, Arravale was Canada’s Horse of the Year and champion female turf horse in 2006 and was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame here this summer.

That connection will take on additional emphasis in the Natalma as Carmel Beauty, a full sister to Arravale, also is in the lineup.

Carmel Beauty, bred in Kentucky by her owner, Bruce Lunsford, debuted in a maiden filly race over seven furlongs of turf here Aug. 24 and was an encouraging third for trainer Barbara Minshall. Carmel Beauty finished 3 1/4 lengths behind the winner, Rutherford Rd, who also is back for the Natalma.

“I thought she ran well,” Minshall said of Carmel Beauty. “I knew I was going to be maybe one five-eighths work short with her.

“She’s a big filly. She had some growth issues, and I had to take my time with her.

“But she’s very well bred for turf, and when you get a chance to run a 2-year-old on the turf you can’t be too choosy and picky. You’ve got to go where the race is.”

Minshall expects Carmel Beauty to move forward off that debut.

“She got a lot out of that race, and when I worked her the other day she got a lot out of that, too.

“I know she’ll go better as they go longer.”

Alex Solis has picked up the mount on Carmel Beauty for the Natalma.

Rankin sends first graded starter in Summer Stakes

Troy Rankin, a 49-year-old trainer who has a farm in Georgetown, Ky., and is based at The Thoroughbred Center in Louisville, has never had a starter in a graded stakes race.

But that will change Saturday when I’m Boundtoscore, a homebred who is owned by by Rankin in partnership with Joe Davis, joins the field of eight for the Summer.

“I’m a grain farmer and beef producer,” said Rankin. “I got my license in 2008. I had six mares of my own, and started training my own horses.”

Rankin, who currently has four runners, began his training career late in 2009. He has won with 8 of just 63 starters to date and finished second or third with 16 others for earnings of $181,090.

His most successful performer by far has been I’m Boundtoscore, who has won 2 of his 4 starts and added a second and a third while banking $72,020.

“I took him to the track for the first time when he was a yearling,” said Rankin. “His first work was in late December.

“He just accepted everything, and then just kept asking for more.

“He’s an easy horse to train. My friends say he trains himself – I just keep him out of trouble.”

I’m Boundtoscore has raced at four different tracks, with his victories coming in his Keeneland debut over 4 1/2 furlongs on Polytrack and in his turf debut over 5 1/2 furlongs of yielding going in the $50,000 Chenery Stakes at Colonial Downs.

The runner-up in his Keeneland score was Joha, who has since won the Colin Stakes here and finished a close second, beaten a head as the runner-up in Saratoga’s Grade 2 With Anticipation.

His closest pursuer in the Chenery was Private Tutor, who came back to finish first via a disqualification in the Nick Shuk Memorial at Delaware Park.

I’m Boundtoscore himself made his most recent appearance at Monmouth Park, finishing second in the $61,600 Tyro Stakes over five furlongs of turf.

After the Tyro, Rankin nominated I’m Boundtoscore to both the Swynford, a seven-furlong Polytrack race that was run here last Sunday, and to the Summer.

“He likes Polytrack about as well as turf,” said Rankin, who will be visiting Woodbine for the first time.

“But, I think he might have a little more speed on the grass, and a mile might be the perfect distance. When he won the Chenery he was just starting to get going.”

Sarah Rook, who has been aboard I’m Boundtoscore for his last two, also will be making her first graded stakes appearance and Woodbine debut in the Summer.

Rook, 26, began her career last year and currently is riding at Laurel. Heading into Wednesday’s card she had won 132 races, including four stakes, and finished second or third on another 244 occasions. She has purse earnings of more than $2 million from 897 mounts.

Daily Racing Form's Ron Gierkink; Keith McCalmont, of the Woodbine media department; and yours truly, Bill Tallon, will be discussing the Woodbine Mile and other key weekend stakes at a handicapping seminar here Saturday. The one-hour session begins at 11 a.m. on the third floor of the grandstand.