08/04/2012 5:40PM

Monmouth Park: Costa, longtime trainer, dies at 77

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OCEANPORT, N.J. - Frankie Costa, a longtime New Jersey trainer known for his good humor and omnipresent cigar, died Friday. He was 77.

Monmouth Park made the announcement on Saturday morning.

Born in Italy, Costa was a jockey before turning to training in 1972.

“Frank was a New Jersey legend and a dear friend,” said Bob Kulina, president of Darby Development LLC, which operates Monmouth. “He was a fixture at Monmouth Park, one that will surely be missed.”

A resident of Kenilworth, N.J., Costa was perhaps best known as the developer of Joey P. during his 3-year-old season in 2005. One of the most popular New Jersey-breds, Joey P. won the Grade 3 Jersey Shore before finishing seventh in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational.

Funeral arrangements are pending.