The Virginia Equine Alliance (VEA) announced the appointment of Doris Lineweaver to the position of Racing Secretary at its annual fall harness meet at Shenandoah Downs in Woodstock, Virginia. This is the 42-year old Lineweaver’s first position as Racing Secretary.
A third generation horseman on both sides, Lineweaver owned her first harness horse at the age of 13 and started training and driving at the age of 18. Even though she was born and still resides in Mauertown, Virginia, the family’s home track then was Rosecroft Raceway. After leaving track life and going to work in advertising and marketing for several years, she went back to the field she knew best, but with an added twist.
“I was a single mother with two young kids and needed to have another avenue to pay the bills, said Lineweaver. “I wanted to stay in the racing business so I went to charting school. After I got licensed, I competed at the Pennsylvania Fairs as a horseman, but charted the races whenever I didn’t have a horse in.”
A more permanent transition from on the track to off the track occurred when Lineweaver was racing at Ocean Downs in 2011. “I was looking at racing at Colonial Downs but my kids weren’t allowed to live on the grounds there,” she explained. “Ocean Downs Racing Secretary Craig Andow got me set up with a camper at Ron McLenaghan’s farm in nearby Providence Forge where we were able to stay as a family. During that meet, Craig asked me to work for him.”
Lineweaver assumed the roles of Assistant Racing Secretary and Stakes Coordinator for four years until the New Kent track shut down after the 2014 season. Since then, she has held the same duties at three different meets conducted by the VEA — at Oak Ridge in 2015 and at Shenandoah Downs the last two years. She even got her judges license two years ago in search of more opportunities in the sport.
“It’s an exciting change,” said Lineweaver, whose Mauertown home is just several miles from the Shenandoah Downs oval. “Being local and having lived here my whole life, I can help grow interest in the area and educate new fans about harness racing. I have my hands in a lot of things in the community, from 4-H groups to the Chamber of Commerce to various networking groups.”
From the perspective of a Racing Secretary, Lineweaver joins a short list of females that hold that type of position. “The horsemen here have a lot of faith in me and I don’t want to let them down. I’ve worked with many of them over the years during the Shenandoah County Fair, Colonial Downs races and even more of them during the recent Shenandoah Downs meets.”
If family is any indication, Lineweaver should adapt just fine. Her mother, Eileen, currently trains horses at The Meadows and Eileen’s mother, Margaret Warren, was an Assistant Race Secretary at Ocean Downs and Harrington Raceway in the 1980’s. Doris’s father, Winston, has competed all over the Eastern Shore during his nearly 60 year career and is still recovering from a heart episode that occurred while in the sulky two years ago at Shenandoah. Her sister, Joyce, races at Harrington and Dover and tends to Winston, who is based with her now in Marydel, Delaware. And Winston’s brother, Alvin, still drives on occasion at 77 years young. Growing up, Doris recalled that Winston and Eileen had several nice horses that stood out above the others —an invitational pacer named Isle C, and a couple solid trotters named Sugar Crispins and Duke Of Kosmos.
Doris Lineweaver is hoping to write more of her own chapters in harness racing, beginning with the upcoming Woodstock meet that begins September 15th. “Racing gets in your blood,” she added, “And you just don’t know anything different.”