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Governor's Cup hopeful Escape The News continues to improve
Thursday, November 10, 2011 - by Kimberly French, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

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Kimberly French
Louisville, KY --- After his performance in a $22,540 division of the Tompkins-Geers at Tioga Downs on July 17, Joe Holloway recognized it was time to call the vet, so Escape The News could attain his true potential without causing bodily harm to himself or his handlers.

“He was tough on himself,” explained the 55-year-old Freehold, N.J., resident. “In one of his first baby races we had to scratch him because he kicked the wall in the paddock and got a stinger. We didn’t want to take a chance, so we scratched him and by the time we got him home he was okay, but with doing stuff like that I was afraid he was going to hurt himself or somebody else. He also was not trying very hard.

“Then he raced at Tioga and tried to pull up the whole first half,” Holloway continued. “He spotted the field a whole lot and when he was ready to go, he caught up with them and was fourth, but it was a bad race and after it he was acting up. We gelded him the next day.”

The son of Artiscape and Ideal News is a homebred for Brittany Farms and Val D’Or Farms. Escape The News, who is the first foal from his stakes-winning dam that was also conditioned by Holloway, has earned $171,096 from 10 trips to the post. The gelding has triumphed on four occasions and finished second one time. He will be looking to add to his earnings in this Sunday's $510,000 Governor's Cup final at Harrah's Chester.

USTA/Mark Hall photo
Escape The News has four wins and $171,096 on his resume.

After his surgery, the horse returned to the races when he captured his qualifier at Chester on August 16 in rein to Andrew McCarthy. He then traveled to Mohawk, where he won a $17,170 non-winners contest on August 22. His next engagement was a fourth place finish in his $40,400 Metro Pace elimination on August 27 and he followed that with a fifth in the $102,000 consolation on Sept. 3.

His next appearance was a victory in an $83,653 New York Sire Stakes event at Yonkers Raceway on Sept. 15. Escape The News then journeyed to The Red Mile where he finished second by a head to Simply Business in a $96,500 division of the Bluegrass Stakes on Oct. 1 and in his second start over the historic track, he won an $83,850 division of the International Stallion Stakes in 1:50.3, which tied the season's fastest time for a 2-year-old pacer of his gender on a mile track.

On Oct. 21, Escape The News finished fourth in his $25,000 Breeders Crown elimination at Woodbine, and followed that up with a fifth in the $650,000 final on Oct. 29. His most recent trip to the gate was a victory in his $20,000 Governor’s Cup elimination at Chester on Nov. 6 and the gelding is scheduled to leave from the three hole in Sunday’s $510,000 final.

“Before he was gelded, he really had no idea about racing,” Holloway said. “He had the ability, but he didn’t have much desire, but that is beginning to come along. He’s better now at the end of the year than he was in the beginning, that is for sure, but I think he will still be better as a 3-year-old if all things work out. (His mother) wasn’t as good at 2, but she really came around at 3.”

After Sunday’s appearance, Escape The News will enjoy a short vacation before preparing for his sophomore campaign.

“Sunday is his last race (for the year),” Holloway, who conditioned Dan Patch Award winners Jenna’s Beach Boy, She’s A Great Lady, Lady McBeach and Bar Slide, said. “I think he will go to Brittany for a month and then back into training, even if it’s light training. I don’t leave them off all that long anymore. I think with the muscle structure and they have to start out going so fast, I don’t think there’s anything like racing them into shape anymore. Horses are athletes and even your baseball and football players are still working out for next season when they are not playing. It’s pretty much a full-time job now.”

Holloway admits the ranks are extremely competitive in Escape The News’ division, but he thinks with the right journey in the Governor’s Cup final, any horse, including his, has a very decent chance to have their picture taken.

“It’s a very good race and I think whoever wins will have the preferred trip,” he explained. “I said the same thing going into the Breeders Crown final, because they are a pretty evenly matched bunch of good horses, although that night Sweet Lou raced tremendously and kind of separated himself from the group of seven, eight, nine colts that are all real good. Up to that point it looked like if somebody got roughed up, while someone got a good trip, that horse would win the race.

“Before the Breeders Crown, you could even put Sweet Lou in that group,” Holloway continued. “Believe me, not that he wasn’t already good as he won the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes, but until that night he was one of the group. You haven’t had a dominant horse all year I think. Unless something like that happens this week, that’s the way I still feel about this race. Maybe someone will separate themselves again. I guess we will find out on Sunday.”

Escape The News’ connections are certainly glad he began to live up to his potential during 2011, but are already looking to prepare for 2012.

“I sure hope so (that he takes after his mother’s improvement from 2 to 3),” Holloway said. “He’s good now, but the 3-year-old ranks are a war. He’s big, he’s strong and he travels real easy, which is a good thing because since they have to go so much you have to be able to go fast easy. He has all the tools and hopefully he puts it all together.”

$510,000 Governor's Cup Final
1-Mybrothergeorge-Andy Miller-Bruce Saunders-12-1
2-Speed Again-Jody Jamieson-Erv Miller-5-1
3-Escape The News-Brian Sears-Joe Holloway-3-1
4-A Rocknroll Dance-Yannick Gingras-Jim Mulinix-8-5
5-Mortal Zin-George Brennan-Ron Burke-8-1
6-Bettor's Edge-Tim Tetrick-Linda Toscano-15-1
7-Hillbilly Hanover-David Miller-R. Nifty Norman-18-1
8-Dynamic Youth-Andrew McCarthy-Aaron Lambert-10-1

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