Plans are being finalized for the second season of pari-mutuel harness racing at Shenandoah Downs, scheduled to take place this fall from September 16th – October 15th.
Pacers and trotters will compete in a slate of races every Saturday and Sunday at 1:00 PM. The half mile oval, which was completely renovated a year ago, will also play host to four days of Shenandoah County Fair harness races (non-betting) from August 30th thru September 2nd. This is the 100th anniversary season of Fair racing at the grounds in Woodstock, which is located halfway between Winchester and Harrisonburg off I-81 at Exit 283.
Featured Fair event is the Virginia Breeders prep and elimination races for two and three year old pacers and trotters of both sexes, which will take place on September 2nd. The $40,000 (estimated) championship for each division will occur during the Shenandoah Downs meet itself. The two year old finals are scheduled for Saturday September 16th while the three year old finals are set for Sunday September 24th. A total of eight divisional titles are up for grabs between the two weekends, and over $300,000 (estimated) in purse monies will be awarded.
The meet itself will offer free parking and admission for fans every race day. Betting windows are conveniently located in the grandstand. Win, place, show, exacta and trifecta bets are available each race and can be placed with a teller or via a self bet terminal.
Every Saturday will feature a different themed festival. Hops ‘n Hooves, a craft beer tasting event, kicks off the slate on September 16th followed by a Food Truck Festival on September 23rd. The popular Wine & Trotter Festival is on September 30th and features tastings from Shenandoah Valley wineries. Seafest, where various seafood related vendors are on premise, is on October 7th and Autumnfest highlights closing weekend on October 14th. The latter event is a heritage themed festival that includes a barbecue tasting competition with 43 contestants, live music, log splitting competitions and more.
There are separate admission charges to access the Autumnfest, Wine & Trotter, and Hops ‘n Hooves sampling areas at Shenandoah Downs but general admission to the harness races is free each day. Details are at shenandoahdowns.com and virginiahorseracing.com.
All owners, trainers, drivers, and grooms participating in the Shenandoah Downs races are required to be licensed by the Virginia Racing Commission (VRC). The easiest way to obtain a license is by going to the Commission’s website at www.vrc.virginia.gov and clicking on “Virginia Racing License” in the upper left hand side of the home page or by clicking here. You will then see a list of documents including the “Racing Application for Participants”, “General Application Instructions, “Fee Schedule”, and “Credit Cart Verification Form”. Simply print out the application and complete it by referring to the fee schedule and general instructions. Once the application is completed, signed, and dated you may either mail it along with the appropriate payment to:
5707 Huntsman Road, Suite 201-B
Richmond, VA 23250
You may also scan the application along with the “Credit Card Verification Form” and email to VRCLicense@VRC.Virginia.gov.
If you would like your badge mailed to you before the races, your application and payment must be received by August 28th, otherwise badges will be distributed at the VRC table in the Lilly Barn. The VRC will be on site in the Lilly Barn on Wednesday, September 13th from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Thursday. September 14th from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and on Friday, September 15th from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. for licensing or picking up badges. (Please note: All licensing must be completed before participating in a race)
If you have any questions or require assistance with this process, please contact Rhonda Davis at (804) 966-7415.