Harness Racing’s Opening Weekend At Shenandoah Downs Set To Go This Saturday & Sunday

Third Shenandoah Downs Harness Season Features Appearance By Superstar Horse Foiled Again, Unique Fan Experience Opportunities,  New Ten Cent Superfecta Wager, Free Parking And Free Admission

The third annual harness racing season at Shenandoah Downs in Woodstock, Virginia kicks off September 15th and continues every Saturday and Sunday through October 14th. Special cards will be offered on Monday October 8th and Friday October 12th.

Ten races are scheduled for opening day. In Saturday’s meet debut, track record holder John’s Dream will compete in the fourth race — a $7,000 Open Handicap Pace. The 5 year old gelding is owned, trained and driven by Chuck Perry of Suffolk, Virginia. He recorded a 1:52 1/5 mile at Shenandoah Downs in 2016 and just four weeks ago, set a new life mark of 1:50 3/5 at The Red Mile in Kentucky. Undefeated Lemonaideshine will try make it 9-for-9 and former Co-Horse of the Meet B Blissful will try to expand on his $309,973 bankroll.

John’s Dream authored a terrific 1:52 1/5 mile opening day at Shenandoah Downs in 2016. He will be back to show his speed at the 2018 opening day card on September 15th. Photo by Dee Leftwich.

One big difference fans will notice this year is a new post time. The first race will be pushed back an hour to 2 PM as opposed to last year’s 1 PM start time. “We felt the later start time would give fans more of a chance to complete their regular weekend errands and rituals and as a result, have a better chance to come out and enjoy an afternoon at the races,” said Virginia Equine Alliance Executive Director Jeb Hannum.

Parking and admission remain free, and wagering will be offered in the main grandstand area at both manned teller stations and at self betting terminals. Win, place, show, exacta and trifecta betting will be available along with a new bet fans will see for the first time. A pair of ten cent superfecta wagers will be offered twice daily, in races 5 and 8. Players need to select the first four finishers in order, and the wager has an attractive minimum cost of just ten cents. Fans can box four horses for only $2.40. “Since there are 24 different ways those horses can finish in the top four, that’s a lot of value and action for just $2.40 when you play ten cents per combination,” said Communications Director Darrell Wood. Past performance programs can be purchased for $2, and that price includes a tip sheet.

Trainer Jimmy Viars leads Lemonaideshine back tp the winner’s circle after his 1:58 2/5 effort during the County Fair races two weeks ago. He will try to remain perfect in Saturday’s opener.

Various promotions and special events will complement the races each day. Key events include a commemorative “Horseplay Encouraged” T-Shirt giveaway on opening day, a new Breast Cancer Awareness weekend on October 6th and 7th, an “After-Work Hops ‘n Hooves” event with one dollar draft beer on Friday October 12th, and the Shenandoah Valley Autumnfest celebration on October 13th.

Fans will also have a chance to enjoy “one of a kind” experiences, like owning a horse for a day, taking a ride in the starter’s car during an actual race, and even riding in a double-seated sulky behind the horse an exhibition race. On two occasions during the meet — September 22nd and October 6th — fans will be drawn at random to “own” a horse competing in a race worth between $3,000 – $4,000. They will get to meet their horse, trainer and driver, take pictures of the occasion, enjoy complimentary lunch, and most importantly, keep the amount of purse money their horse wins in that race. The winning horse gets 50% of the purse —$2,000 in a $4,000 race. Details of these events are at www.shenandoahdowns.com and at the Shenandoah Downs facebook page. Thanks go out to the Virginia Harness Horse Association for sponsoring this promotion.

Corey Kreiser’s Fixed Income scored the fastest mile of the meet last year. He sold the pacer, but has a number of fresh faces to show off Saturday in Woodstock. Photo by Dee Leftwich.

The season’s highlight will take place on Saturday September 29th when harness racing’s top money earning horse ever will appear for a Meet & Greet session with fans, then compete in a pari-mutuel race. Foiled Again is the star attraction — a 14 year old pacer who has bankrolled over $7.5 million in his spectacular career. He recently won his 102nd race and he has made 320 starts. He is an award winning horse many times over and he will be retiring at the end of 2018. “This is such a great and unique opportunity for racing fans in the area ,” said Shenandoah Downs Race Secretary, Dee Lineweaver. “Foiled Again is a racing legend. Fans can get their picture taken with him, then see him compete in one of his final races ever. We expect a full house that afternoon.”