The Transformation Of a Harness Track From Fair Oval To Pari-Mutuel Oval

The 99th season of harness racing at the Shenandoah County Fair will take place in Woodstock, Virginia over a 4 day period this year from August 31st – September 3rd. Then, for the first time ever, a pari-mutuel meet will be held there over five consecutive weekends, from September 10th – October 9th.

The difference? Fair races are non-betting but pari-mutuel races will have wagering. Bets that will be offered include win, place, show, exacta and trifecta. In order to accommodate the longer meet, the existing half mile oval at Woodstock had to be widened to allow horses to start eight across the track (behind the starters car), and the turns had to be banked. A tractor pull strip and permanent concert stage also had to be relocated — all part of a $750,000 renovation project.

Cooperation among several key groups made this project a reality. The Virginia Downs Foundation, Virginia Equine Alliance, Virginia Harness  Horsemen’s Association and the Shenandoah County Fair Association all teamed up. The stable area will be filled with horses come opening weekend. Additional promotional activities and festivals are planned for nearly every weekend to complement the trotting and pacing action. ten races will be carded every Saturday and Sunday starting at 1 PM. And the track has a name – Welcome to Shenandoah Downs!

Here’s a before, during and after look at the renovation. See you September 10th!

The track in Woodstock is a half mile oval and will be 65 feet wide.



A $700,000 track renovation project continues at Shenandoah Downs.

Woodstock renovation pic2 aug 4