Cocoacabana 1st Oaks starter for Ingrassias
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"This will be our first Hambletonian Oaks starter,” the 68-year-old Allentown, NJ, resident explained. "Just to be in it is an honor. To make the final would be icing on the cake.”
The Ingrassias currently have nine horses in training at White Birch Farm, which is two miles from their home. Three of their trainees, including Cocoacabana, are owned with Peter and Ebby Gerry's Arden Homestead Stable of Delhi, NY; one they own outright and five are for Dr. Donna Franchetti and her husband, Tom Doran.
Ingrassia, a member of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey Board of Directors, is also a District 12 representative of the United States Trotting Association. A versatile horsewoman, she is also involved with the Standardbred Pleasure Horse Organization of New Jersey.
Born in Ipswich in Great Britain, she started driving in races in the United States in 1977. She became the first woman driver to win a Triple Crown race when she guided Goalfish to victory in the 2000 Yonkers Trot. She topped the 1,000-victory plateau in 2003. She was a 1999 inductee into the Jersey Shore Sports Hall of Fame.
Jacquie Ingrassia will be driving Cocoacabana in the Oaks Elimination if John Campbell opts for the Jimmy Takter-trained Wild Honey, also in the same division. She would be the first woman driver in the Oaks since it debuted in 1971.
Cocoacabana is aptly named, being a daughter of Chocolatier-Beachcomber. She has two wins, one second and nine thirds in 21 career starts. This year she has been in-the-money in five of 11 starts, including her first two trips to the winner's circle. She has a bankroll of $40,444 and a mark of 1:53.3, taken in her last start on July 17 at the Meadowlands.
"Cocoa had the usual two-year-old issues last year – sickness, sore knees, growth spurts,” Ingrassia explained. "We felt she needed time to develop and, hopefully, she is over the worst. She is a Chocolatier and has very pronounced haunches, and also doesn't carry much weight. I'm told this is a trait with them.”
The Gerrys' Arden Homestead bred the filly in partnership with Tad Egloff's Vieux Carre Farm.
"We really liked her at the sale,” she said. "I bought her [for $32,000 at Harrisburg], and, subsequently, Peter and Ebby bought 50 percent from me.”
"We have four nice two-year-old filly trotters, all racing, including Twice a Night [Donato Hanover-Working Girl], whom we co-own with Arden Homestead Stable,” Ingrassia noted. "She won a leg of the Stallion Series at Pocono last week and is turning out to be a nice filly. Hopefully, you will see us again in the Oaks next year [with her]. Hope springs eternal!”--By Carol Hodes/SBOANJ