What a difference a week makes. As Shenandoah Downs prepares for its second weekend of racing in Woodstock, Virginia, the newly renovated half mile oval will see more traffic than it had in its debut weekend, last Saturday and Sunday.
Starter Mike Wojchick will have to line up 134 harness horses in 21 pari-mutuel races this weekend compared with 97 in 18 races a week ago. On Saturday alone, 19 horses that last raced at The Meadows will be shipping in to compete. Last weekend, only five races offered trifecta betting. This weekend, 20 of the 21 will offer triple wagering.
“We are thrilled at the reception from horsemen in the Mid-Atlantic region and are grateful for everyone that is shipping in to help fill the weekend races,” said Racing Secretary Mike Wandishin. “Pacers and trotters from The Meadows have been a major force in getting us to this point. We may not see a track record mile like we did last Saturday (1:52 1/5 by John’s Dream), but we will have some outstanding and competitive racing.”
Trainer Henry Lewis has a pair of streaking horses in Saturday. Last Chance Harvey has won three straight and Vertigo Hanover has captured five straight, all at Shenandoah. The former won a pair at the four day, non-betting County Fair meet which preceded the current pari-mutuel stand, while the latter earned a four-pack of victories there also. Both pacers won on opening day and both are favored in the respective first and fifth races Saturday.
Fans can expect to see established drivers Frank Milby, Roger Hammer and Brad Irvine in the sulky this weekend. Tyler Stillings will pilot favorites in both the main and secondary featured races on Saturday. His Mistress Valentine is 8-5 early choice in the $7500 Open Handicap Trot, which has been carded as race eight. The 7 year old daughter of Master Glide has earned $341,953. Stillings will direct second early choice I’m Feelin Good in the next race, a $5,500 conditioned pace. His charge invades from The Meadows and sports a lifetime bankroll of $595,268.
Post time both days is 1 PM. Gates open at 11 AM and there is free admission. Shenandoah Downs is located at the Shenandoah County Fairgrounds, at Exit 283 off I-81 halfway between Winchester and Harrisonburg. More information is available at www.shenandoahdowns.com and at www.virginiahorseracing.com.