(WOODSTOCK, VA — 9/16/2016) —- Last Chance Harvey returned to his winning ways Sunday in the eighth race at Shenandoah Downs as the third of five planned weekends of the inaugural season came to a close.
The 7-year-old Full Of Fun gelding appeared to win his fourth straight race a week ago, but he was disqualified and placed second instead. Reinsman Frank Milby directed the hot pacer to a relatively easy wire-to-wire victory Sunday in a season’s best time of 1:57 1/5. The victor, who has now won four of his last five, is trained and owned by Henry Lewis. He is out of the Fighting Major mare, Major Celebration.
The fastest mile of the day was authored by Hot Rod Mindale in a $3500 conditioned race. The classy 12 year old Real Artist gelding scored a dominant 4 3/4 length triumph in 1:55 4/5, which came a week after he won even more convincingly, by 5 1/2 lengths. Driver Roger Plante Jr. guided the effort from the sulky for trainer Herman Hagerman. The winner, who lifetime earnings are just shy of $352,000, is out of Nani Oakley by Jate Lobell.
Plante, who is challenging Tyler Shehan for top spot in the driver standings, won three on the day. He connected twice on the card with pacers from Amanda Jackson’s stable — Justa Party Animal and Hillbillyfairytale. The former won his second straight at the Woodstock half mile oval while the latter captured his first of 2016 and triggered a new life mark of 1:56 4/5.
Heading into the weekend, Shehan had seven wins and Plante had five. The “fist pumping” Shehan had a four win afternoon Saturday but was shut out Sunday. Entering the fourth weekend of action, Shehan sits atop the leader board with eleven while Plante is next with eight. Frank Milby, with three wins this past weekend, moves into third place with seven.
Only two weekends of racing remain at Shenandoah Downs this season. The 4th annual “Wine & Trotter” Festival is this Saturday & Sunday, October 1st & 2nd, where eight Valley wineries will be on the grounds providing samples during the races. Gates open at 11 AM and races begin at 1:00 PM. Tickets are at shenandoahdowns.com. More meet details are at www.virginiahorseracing.com.