Joe Holloway started in the sport as a caretaker in his native Delaware when he was an altar boy, as the new local priest took up harness racing as a way to engage his flock. Holloway would later achieve success at the uppermost levels of the sport with his masterful handling of Jenna’s Beach Boy p,4,1:47.3 ($1,972,172), three-time Breeders Crown winner, twice Pacer of the Year, and a horse whose record for a race mile of 1:47.3 stood for a decade.
As a member of the 2019 Hall of Fame class, trainer Holloway is 40 years removed from his first driving win at the Meadowlands and 35 years out from the purchase of Tuff Choice p,4,1:52.2 ($514,376) in the summer of 1984. In 1985 Tuff Choice would go on an unprecedented streak of 13 straight Meadowlands wins, still a record for pacers at the Big M for a single meet. From 1984 through 1988 Holloway trained for David Rovine, with such outstanding performers as George S p,4,1:54.3 ($380,000), Tuff Choice and world champion Banker Blue Chip p,3,1:51.4 ($496,718) – not to mention a 106-win season at the Meadowlands in 1987, just the second barn to reach triple figures in the then 11-year history of the track. Holloway had a magical year in 1992, winning the Yonkers Trot with Mc Cluckey 3,1:54.1 ($430,388) in a dead heat, the Wilson with world champion America’s Pastime p,2,1:51.4 ($455,832), and the North America Cup with Safely Kept p,2,1:52.4 ($866,999) – at better than 25-1 odds and by passing a horse by the name of Western Hanover out of the pocket and holding off favored Carlsbad Cam.
The first pacer to win three Breeders Crown titles, Jenna’s Beach Boy was the fastest Standardbred of the year at ages three and four. At age three in 1995 he set a world record 1:48.4 race mile for all-age colts at The Red Mile, and besting that the following year in the Driscoll at the Meadowlands with a 1:47.3 all-time race record for Standardbreds. Holloway also had She’s A Great Lady at the time, and she and stablemate Armbro Nest p,4,1:50.4 ($674,821) finished one-two in the 1996 Breeders Crown.
Holloway, voted the sport’s top trainer in 1995, added to his resume by developing 1995 Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year and 1996 Older Pacing Mare of the Year She’s A Great Lady p,4,1:50.4 ($973,382), world champion Shebestingin p,3,1:47 ($759,522) and 2012 Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year Somwherovrarainbow p,4,1:48f ($1,342,848). He also handled 2016 Horse of the Year Always B Miki p,5,1:46 ($2,715,368) at two and three, and Breeders Crown champion, 2015 Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year Divine Caroline p,3,1:49.2 ($880,335).
World champion Badlands Hanover p,2,1:50z ($754,772) won the 1998 Breeders Crown at Colonial for Holloway, becoming history’s first ever 1:50 freshman. From the first crop of Jenna’s Beach Boy, 2000 Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year Lady MacBeach p,2,1:52.1 ($802,296) won the 2000 Breeders Crown. World champion Life Source p,7,1:48 ($1,844,445) won as a sophomore in 2000 for Holloway in 1:48.4. 1998 and 1999 Pacer of the Year and world champion Red Bow Tie p,5,1:48.2 ($2,673,920), and 1996 Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year and 1997 Older Pacing Mare of the Year Mystical Maddy p,4,1:50 ($1,436,325) both started their careers with Holloway.
Joe Hurley, owner and breeder of Always B Miki says of Holloway, “He’s dedicated to his passion of training beyond comprehension. He offers not only superior training to his owners, but superior friendship as well. He’s honest to the point of placing the welfare of the horse above all else and the interest of the owner very close behind. He’s retained his passion and drive for decades without any reduction in that all-important characteristic, a lifelong dedication, with obvious success, to the sport that he loves.”