(WOODSTOCK, VA —- 9/30/19) —- Pacers Ideal Ace, John’s Dream and R N Nate continued a three way battle in the premier racing class at Shenandoah Downs as weekend number three of harness racing wrapped up in Woodstock, Virginia.
Track record holder John’s Dream (1:52 1/5) captured the initial $7,000 Open class on September 14 then a week later, Roger Hammer’s R N Nate was best of the trio in a $7,000 Open Handicap. The three clashed again Saturday along with a trio of others and after Lloyd’s All In led early, Ideal Ace took over before the three-quarters mark and reached the winners circle for the first time this meet. The Stephen White owned, trained and driven United Ace gelding crossed 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Chuck Perry’s John’s Dream and another length over R N Nate. Ideal Ace finished in 1:53.0, fastest mile of the meet thus far. He won his third race of the year and 13th overall.
Both John’s Dream and R N Nate have finished second or better at the current meet and at the Shenandoah County Fair campaign which was held in late August. The former has three wins and a pair of seconds. The latter has a pair of wins, seconds and a third.
Lodi Bank Robber and Swinging Jenny captured respective co-headlining $7,000 races Saturday in the Open Handicap Trot and Open Mares Pace.
Stacey McLenaghan’s Lodi Bank Robber surged past front stepper Headsaregonna Turn in the stretch and crossed a length the best in 1:58.0. Overlooked at 12-1, the 6- year-old New Age Hanover gelding was the first of three winners on the card for McLenaghan who also scored later with Surge Seelster and Gifted George. Corey Braden drove all three to victory. Lodi Bank Robber collected his 16th lifetime triumph while his bankroll increased to $110,000. James Stiltner’s Headsaregonna Turn was a length back in second while September 21 Open class winner Al-Mar Reba Babe took third.
In the mares pace, Amanda Stephens’s Swinging Jenny took over the lead from Place At The Beach at the third fraction, powered to the front and prevailed by 2 1/2 lengths over Shadows Mystery in 1:55.0. The 6-year-old Jenna’s Beach Boy mare broke through after back-to-back runner-up finishes at Woodstock and the Red Mile. Like McLenaghan, trainer Marna Shehan collected three wins on the afternoon. She also scored with Held In Balance and Fort El Said. Husband Tyler Shehan piloted those three to victory in consecutive races, and a fourth in the finale with Rex Watson’s Beautiful Brew.
In addition to pari-mutuel races, Saturday’s card featured a double seater jog cart exhibition race with four participants from this past summer’s Harness Horse Youth Foundation day camp at the Fairgrounds. Morgan Marston prevailed in the one lap event sitting next to trainer/driver Betsy Brown and behind Hot Rod Pete. Other young drivers included Weston Copp, Maggie Copp and Claire DeRosier.
The first annual Wiener Dog Derby was also contested Saturday and the festivities attracted a field of 39 dachshunds and a grandstand filled with spectators. Five elimination heats were held between harness races and a championship followed which was won by Tank.
In action Friday, driver Bill Carter piloted a trio of standardbreds to victory. He connected early with Sassy Lynnly and in mid-card with Chips Starr and Key Word. The first pair are owned by Virginia Ehrhart and trained by Neal Ehrhart while the latter is owned by Wilma Foley and conditioned by Lawrence Cooper.
The fourth race weekend will kick off Friday October 4th at 3:30 PM followed by Saturday’s Shenandoah “Autumnfest” card and a special non-betting program Sunday which will feature eight divisions of Virginia Breeder’s races in two and three-year-old events. The Autumnfest celebration begins at 11:30 AM and races begin at 2 PM. Sunday’s Breeder’s card begins at 12 Noon.
#1 – Tyler Shehan wins his fourth of the day September 28 aboard Beautiful Brew. #2 – Dachshunds compete in the first Wiener Dog Derby September 28. #3 – Ideal Ace captured the $7,000 Open Handicap on Saturday.