Virginia Breeder’s 2 & 3 Year Old Harness Prep Race Recap From Shenandoah County Fair; $40,000 Finals Begin September 16th

Prep and elimination harness races for the Virginia Breeder’s divisional two and three year old championships were held during the final race program at the Shenandoah County Fair this past Saturday (September 2). Two year old championships will be held Saturday September 16th at the Shenandoah Downs pari-mutuel meet opener, then three year old divisional titles will be contested on Sunday September 24th.

Fastest mile in the Breeder’s races came in a prep for the $2,000 three year old colt/gelding pace. Royal Red, a Dream Away gelding trained by Jimmy Viars, held off  Welcometotheparty to win wire-to-wire in 1:58 2/5. Driver Chuck Perry, who had five wins on the Fair’s opening day program, directed the three-quarter length victory for owner Susan Viars. Trainer Stacy McLenaghan’s runner-up paced second throughout and beat third place finisher Lil Cool Fly ‘n Fun by nearly a length. Southern Jamie, Tulsi and Hot Card Shark were scratched.

Harness drivers pass the grandstand during the first race at Shenandoah Downs track on Saturday. Rich Cooley/Daily

Royal Red only had six lifetime starts entering the race but has made the most of them. He was the two year old male pacing champ in 2016, which was held during Shenandoah Downs’ inaugural opening weekend a year ago. He wired the field in that effort in 1:59.0. The victor remained perfect in a lightly raced ’17 campaign with thre e wins from three starts.

Earlier in the card, reinsman Perry guided Lemonaideshine to victory in the second of two elimination races for colt and gelding freshman pacers. The Badlands Hanover gelding, who wired the field by three in a Fair opening day warmup August 30, wired the field again in an impressive 1:59 2/5. He shaved over five seconds off the time he recorded just three days prior. E-Z Pass B, a William ​Fletcher trainee, was second and Canadian Chrome finished third.

The Shenandoah Downs fall season begins in Woodstock September 16th.

Mark Gray’s Rocknroll Ace wired the field in the day’s first freshman male elim, crossing the wire in 2:03 2/5. The A Rocknroll Dance colt, owned by Anne McDonald, beat runner-up Isle of Truth by four lengths and third place finisher Oak’s Ganster Man by nine. The winner was making first lifetime start. Firm Biscuit finished fourth.

Hillbillyheartache beat Cold N Chilly by a neck in a thrilling $2,000 two year filly pacing prep. Trainer Amanda Jackson’s Nuclear Breeze filly led by 1 1/2 lengths at each of the first three quarter stations and came home strong in a final quarter of :29 3/5. Frank MIlby drove the winner for the Hillbilly Haven Farms of Burkeville, Virginia. The runner-up was driven and is trained by Mark Gray. Tom Hall’s Baddabingbaddabang was third.

Freddie K dominated in the $2,000 two year old colt/gelding trot prep, wiring the field by eight in 2:07.0. The Dusty Winner gelding led by three at the half and six at the third marker. He is trained by Roland Dunavant Jr. and was driven by Frank Milby. Betsy Brown’s Uncle Ike finished second and Eileen Lineweaver’s Like A Wreckingbal was third.

Shenandoah Downs is shown here, near the top of the stretch, when renovations first began in spring, 2016. The $800,000 project was completed in time for the ’16 Fair and inaugural Shenandoah Downs race meet last fall  .

Loriella came outside of Half Moon Rising at the quarter pole, took command and went on to complete a coast-to-coast venture in the $2,000 prep for two year old trotting fillies. The daughter of Four Starz Robro, trained by Leon Harris, crossed in 2:07.0, six lengths in front of Sand Inmy Trousers. William Carter directed the mile for owner Elwood Tignor of Caret, Virginia. The runner-up is trained by Scott Warnick. Carlo Poliseno’s Half Moon Rising took third.

Betsy Brown’s Irish Blessings trotted a close second behind front-stepping Boog through three fractions of the $2,000 three year old filly prep before coming outside to challenge. The daughter of CR Commando then powered to the front, opened up by three at the top of the stretch and won by five in 2:06 2/5. Brown, who co-owns the horse with Terry Kibler of Woodstock, drove as well. Boog is trained by Leon Harris while third place finisher, Guacamolie Gammy, is conditioned by Scott Warnick.

In non-Virginia Breeder’s action Saturday, the fastest mile ever at the Shenandoah County Fair race meet was authored by B Blissful. The 13 year old son of Blissful Hall, who was co-Horse of the Meet at Shenandoah Downs last fall, had a triumph in 1:56 4/5, which shattered the previous mark of 1:58 2/5. He won that race by 15 lengths. Earlier in the card, he won by six in 1:59 1/5.

“The track is in tremendous shape,” said Racing Secretary Mike Wandishin. “It is has really settled in now that we’re a year removed from the major renovation that took place in 2016. Track Superintendent J.D. Thomas has done a great job preparing the surface for the Fair meet that just concluded and the pari-mutuel