Jul 10, 2008


I first met Bob Costigan on the backstretch of Hastings Park. He had a 3-year-old filly in training there and sought my opinion about sending her to Woodbine to see if she would prefer turf racing to the Hastings five furlongs dirt oval.

Since she was by Regal Classic out of a mare by Assert it was an easy to confirm his judgment that Inish Glora might fancy the lawn. I was thinking $50,000 claimer while Bob had higher aspirations.

Under the tutelage of old school trainer Mac Benson Inish Glora flourished immediately.
From modest beginnings in Vancouver she eventually reached the summit and was crowned Canada’s champion turf mare two years straight.

While all this was going on Bob asked me if I could find a telephone number for trainer David Carroll, a fellow Irishman who was stabled at Churchill Downs. It seems the pair had been school chums back in Ireland at Gormanston College. They had not spoken in 25 years.

Good fortune smiled on both of them after that reunion. Bob had added an Arch filly named Arravale to his small band of runners and she became not only champion filly in Canada but also Horse of the Year. Imagine two champions in a stable with no more than a handful of runners!

Carroll meanwhile showed that he’s no slouch with his deft handling of Denis of Cork to finish third in the Kentucky Derby and second in the Belmont.

“Bob was the smart one,” said David. “I’d be reading nothing but the Irish Field instead of my school books. It was grand to see him again after all those years.”