Day At The Track
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CHESTER, PA - The pair of harness racing feature races at Harrah's Chester on "Trottin' Thursday" were both hard-fought affairs, with both headliners finding less than two lengths separating the winner from the last checkgetter. In the $18,000 top-level event, the Crazed gelding Izoh ignored both a 23-1 dismissal by the crowd and a grueling first-over trip to catch favored sophomore Goes Down Smooth, whose last appearance was a checkgetting one in the Breeders Crown, by a nose in 1:55.1. There was a half-length between Goes Down Smooth and third-place Ooh Rah, who in turn captured third by a half-length over Sumatra, with Armagedon Seelster another neck back in fifth. Izoh, now with two wins and three seconds in his last five starts despite rising in class steadily, triumphed for trainer Frank Ingrassia and driver Jackie Ingrassia, who is a co-owner with Arden Homestead Stable, Donna Franchetti, and Thomas Doran. The $14,500 co-feature saw the Muscle Mass gelding Cruising In Style come up the inside to outstep first-over favorite Crossfit by ¾ of a length in 1:55.4. Fashion Creditor was a half-length behind those two and Hill Of A Horse only a head behind the show horse and a half-length ahead of Sylvesteramericait. CruisingIn Style pushed his earnings over the quarter-million dollar mark, with the figure now at $250,819 for the Andrew Harris trainee, who is owned by Thestable Cruising Group. Cruising In Style was driven by George Napolitano Jr., who had four wins on the Thursday card; Marcus Miller was next in line with three sulky successes. From Harrah's Philadelphia

CHESTER PA - The mare Turn The Paige and driver Jackie Ingrassia missed the world record for a 5/8-mile trot over a 5/8-mile track by 2/5 of a second while taking a $12,500 event at Harrah's Philadelphia Saturday afternoon in 1:09.2 - but with the energy the winner showed, the record could have been hers with a better trip. Actually, it's hard to imagine a worse trip for the Cantab Hall mare, who left from post five - three-wide most of the quickly-arriving first turn in the once-around race, and then two-wide raw the duration against pacesetting favorite Hemi Seelster, with fractions of 27.1 and 55.2. In the stretch it was Turn The Paige and "Lady J" who continued to power to the wire, winning by 2 3/4 lengths over a late-charging Patton, with Hemi Seelster settling for show. Husband-trainer Frank Ingrassia conditions the winner for his wife-owner-driver, and they saw their mare reach earnings of $202,545 with the sprint triumph. Top purse event on the day at Harrah's was a $17,000 conditioned pace, won in impressive fashion by the Shanghai Phil gelding Makasi while lowering his lifetime mark by almost two seconds to 1:50.2. Driver/trainer Pat Lachance worked out a fine second-over trip with the winner of $142,409, sent up three-wide on the far turn, and the winner responded with a thumping last quarter of 27.2 to win by 3 1/4 lengths for Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia

MANALAPAN, NJ - July 29, 2015 - Jacqueline Ingrassia, affectionately known as Lady Jay, is about to break new ground. She and her harness racing and life partner for more than four decades, Frank Ingrassia, will be sending out their first Hambletonian Oaks starter on Saturday night, August 1, 2015 at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Cocoacabana drew post two in the sixth race, the first of two $35,000 elimination races which will whittle down the 16 three-year-old trotting fillies to the 10 finalists who will face off in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks Final on August 8. "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. Cocoacabana winning at The Meadowlands on the 12th of July "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!" Following are the elimination fields in post order for the Hambletonian Oaks with listed drivers and trainers: 1 - Lady Winona by Credit Winner -Andy Miller-Julie Miller  2 - Cocoacabana by Chocolatier -John Campbell-Frank Ingrassia  3 - Lock Down Lindy by Lucky Chucky -Tim Tetrick-Tony Alagna  4 - Smexi by Explosive Matter -Corey Callahan-Jimmy Takter  5 - Bright Baby Blues by Andover Hall -David Miller-Bob Stewart  6 - Gatka Hanover by Muscle Massive -Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke  7 - Wild Honey by Cantab Hall -John Campbell-Jimmy Takter  8 - Smokinmombo by Explosive Matter -Aaron Merriman-Christopher Beaver  Race 7 1 - Rules Of The Road by Muscle Hill -Corey Callahan-Janice Connor  2 - Sarcy by Donato Hanover -Johnny Takter-Jimmy Takter  3 - Speak To Me by Muscle Massive -Scott Zeron-Jimmy Takter  4 - Magic Marker by Andover Hall -David Miller-R. Nifty Norman  5 - Katniss by Credit Winner -Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt  6 - Livininthefastlane by Donato Hanover -Andy Miller-Julie Miller  7 - Classical Annie by Andover Hall -Aaron Merriman-Jim Arledge Jr.  8 - Spirit To Win by Cantab Hall -Brett Miller-R. Dustin Jones By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ

Summer Showdown at Ocean Downs came to a close on Sunday (July 29) with the harness racing 3-year-old Maryland Sire Stakes finals.

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