08/22/2001 12:00AM



SHAKOPEE, Minn. - Apprentice Martin "Jose" Escobar scored his first career victory in Sunday's fourth race on D K Dickens with a clever rail-skimming trip.

A 27-year-old native of Mexico, Escobar is no stranger to Canterbury. He began his career 11 years ago as a hotwalker for trainer Bernell Rhone and worked as a groom and shed foreman before becoming one of the stable's regular exercise riders. Escobar and Rhone's son, Scott, are a familiar sight as they take sets of horses in tandem to the track under the black and red saddlecloths of the Rhone barn.

The elder Rhone was instrumental in helping Escobar learn the basics of horsemanship and those qualities have been in evidence since the jockey accepted his first mount. While he is not yet a seasoned race-rider, he is not your typical green bug boy, either.