Harness racing at the Shenandoah County Fairgrounds in Woodstock takes place during their annual Fair, where a slate of non-betting races will occur over a 4 day period in the week leading up to Labor Day. Five consecutive weekends of pari-mutuel racing will follow shortly after that on Saturdays and Sundays from September 16th until October 15th. This meet is referred to as Shenandoah Downs. Ten races generally are conducted each day beginning at 1:00 PM. Horsemen can visit www.vhha.net for more details on stabling, conditions and the Virginia Breeders program.
Applications for stabling will have a special “Early Bird” period starting on July 10th and ending on July 24th. The second and regular application will occur between August 8th and August 22nd . “Will call” applications for stabling will be accepted beginning August 29th and extend until there are no further stalls available.
Shenandoah Downs is planning on using the feedback gained in last year’s meet to make changes for the better this fall including realigning some of the stabling areas. Further infrastructure plans are being considered at this time and as they are completed more information will be made available.
Some of the highlights of the first meet included:
Opening day of the newly renovated track saw a stellar 1:52 1/5 winning mile authored by John’s Dream in the $40,000 Virginia Breeders 3 Year Old Colt/Gelding Championship Pace. Owner/trainer Chuck Perry drove the son of Dream Away to a dominant 21 length triumph in wire-to-wire fashion.
Continual competitive racing occurred throughout the meet with photos being necessary on seemingly every race. The high level of skill and professionalism of the drivers and trainers was on display throughout the entire meet.
The Horse of the Meet honors were close, so close that there were Co-Horses of the Meet. B Blissful, owned and trained by Jimmy Viars and Last Chance Harvey, owned and trained by Henry Lewis each collected four wins during the inaugural stand, but the latter was disqualified and placed second in one of his starts. The two Co-champs were scheduled to meet in a battle for the bragging rights on closing day in the final race of the meet but a flat tire sustained by B Blissful ended any chance of a battle to the wire of the two titans. It is anticipated that both horses will return to Shenandoah Downs this coming meet to defend their titles.
The inaugural meet took place over five consecutive weekends at Shenandoah Downs, located in the heart of the picturesque Shenandoah Valley, over a half mile oval that was fresh off an $800,000 renovation project. Competitive races were carded and met with great enthusiasm from fans, who cheered horses as they left the gate, crossed the half and finished the mile.
With the opening of two OTBs since the last race at Shenandoah Downs, and two more planned to open before the opening of the live meet, the purse structure should remain same. It is anticipated that the condition sheet will remain basically the same with a few minor tweaks.
Horsemen are reminded that the 100th annual 2017 Shenandoah County Fair will feature harness racing over the Woodstock track and will take place between August 25th and September 2nd. Harness racing will take place on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday of Fair week.
For more information please see the following websites. The main horsemen site would be www.vhha.net. The main fan/visitor sites would be www.shenandoahdowns.com and www.virginiahorseracing.com.
For more details please contact Racing Secretary, Mike Wandishin, 302-509-1861.
Click below for the Shenandoah Downs website: