Two decades ago, Joe Holloway, one of Standardbred racing's leading conditioners, sent out a horse in one of the sport's biggest events, the $1 million North America Cup at Greenwood Raceway.
Although the betting public didn't show much interest in Safely Kept the night of the 1992 North America Cup, Holloway had faith in the son of Jate Lobell. At odds of 30-1, Safely Kept, driven by Hall of Famer Mike Lachance, crossed the wire first to upset in the ninth edition of the Cup, in 1:53.1, delivering Holloway one of most memorable and cherished moments.
Safely Kept, who went on to retire with $866,999 in earnings, paid a handsome $63.70 to win, defeating Western Hanover and Kingsbridge in the Cup.
Now, Holloway is hoping the good fortune returns with Escape The News.
The son of Artiscape will contest in a division of the $100,000 Somebeachsomewhere Stakes this Saturday at Mohawk, the springboard to this year's $1.5 million edition of the Pepsi North America Cup (NorthAmericaCup.com), slated for June 16.
With three starts under his belt this season, including a victory in the New York Sire Stakes in his most recent outing, Escape the News has his trainer full of optimism.
"He's right were we want him to be,” Holloway said. "He's had a pair of overnight races under his belt, plus a stakes race which he won. So far, things are pretty good. He's very easy on himself and that's always a positive sign when managing him.”
Holloway, who was amassed nearly $25 million in purse earnings, has enjoyed great success throughout his career, including conditioning Jenna's Beach Boy, who banked $1,972,172 in earnings.
Escape The News, who earned $232,237 last season as a rookie with a 1:50.3 speed badge, has a record of 5-1-2 from 14 career starts for owner/breeder Brittany Farms and Val Dor Farms.
Jack Moiseyev will handle the driving assignment from post three in the first division on Saturday.
"He's a very well-proportioned horse,” Holloway said. "He's got a terrific gait to him with good size. We'll have him as ready as we can for this weekend.”
Although this year's glamour boy division is rich in talent, Hollowayis happy to have a horse in the mix.
"In this day and age, there are so many terrific horses,” he said. "An overnight race could go in 1:50 or better, that's just the nature of our sport, and that's great to see.
"In some big events this season, the horse with the best trip usually wins. If a horse gets the perfect trip, then it might be their night to shine. It's such a competitive sport that any horse at the highest level can win on any night.”
Come Saturday evening at Mohawk, Escape The News will look to make headlines in the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes, before taking on his biggest task this season, the prestigiousNorth America Cup.
Holloway is hopeful Escape The News can make the front page just like Safely Kept did 20 years ago. (WEG)