(WOODSTOCK, VA — 10/7/19) —- Ten Virginia Breeder’s prep and elimination races were contested Sunday at Shenandoah Downs in advance of closing day’s (October 13) “Day of Champions” card which features over $300,000 in combined purses. The afternoon was highlighted by a pair of $4,000 elimination races in both the freshman colt trot and colt pace categories, and a 1:59 1/5 mile in the two-year-old filly pace.
Jane Dunavant’s Chauffer wired the field in his male trotting prep with Art Stafford in the bike, crossing in 2:04 4/5. The Carlo Poliseno trainee finished 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Pamela Wagner’s Mr. Herps. The winner came into Woodstock fresh off a victory in the $100,000 Delaware State-Bred Final at Harrington where he prevailed in 2:01.0. Chauffer is by Dusty Winner out of Koala Kosmos by S J’s Photo.
Rocky Bomber was even more dominant in the other divisional test. The He’s Spooky colt, owned by Arthur Lisi and trained by Virginia Louthan, wired the field in 2:02 2/5 and crossed 9 1/2 lengths the best. Bruce Trader led the effort in the sulky. Rocky Bomber finished fourth in the $100,000 stakes final won by Chauffer, and the two will square off again in Sunday’s $47,975 Virginia final at Shenandoah.
Nvrfearlloydishere and Caviart Val took home elimination wins in their respective male freshmen pacing events. The former entered the race 4 of 7 including a recent runner-up in the $70,000 Maryland Sire Stakes final at Rosecroft. With John Wager aboard, he scored in wire-to-wire fashion but had to fend off a pesky Caviart Sage who finished just a quarter length back. The final time of 1:59 4/5 was a full second better than Caviart Val’s clocking. The latter passed two front steppers in the stretch of the second division race and crossed in 2:00 4/5. Reinsman Tyler Shehan led the come from behind trip for the Caviart Farms in his first lifetime start. The Bettor’s Delight colt is trained by Tony Alagna.
Caviart Farms’ Caviart Sage and Caviart Revere finished second and third in the first division while Dr. Scott Woogen’s K J Michael and Anne McDonald’s Virginia Cruiser took the top runner-up spots in the latter division. They will all return in a single race championship Sunday with a $47,950 purse.
Breeze Away B, who had a 1:55 3/5 winning effort in Maryland Sire Stakes action at Rosecroft last month, went coast-to-coast in 1:59 1/5 and finished two lengths ahead of Pamela Wagner’s Fire Me Up in the Virginia 2-year-old filly pacing prep. The daughter of Nuclear Breeze is owned and trained by William Fletcher and was driven by leading Ocean Downs pilot Allan Davis. The duo will clash again in Sunday’s $42,275 final.
Among other winners Sunday was Debbie Warnick’s Sweet Reason who wired the field in a 3-year-old filly trotting prep. Kim Vincent guided the Gregory Pecs filly to a 2:04.0 finishing time for trainer Scott Warnick. Interestingly, the second, third and fourth place finishers — Arthur Hauser’s Zsa Zsa Dabor, Tracy Bradshaw’s J Go and Adam Akers’ La Ninas Yankee — all are by stallion Gregory Pecs as well. He is owned by Gideon Brenneman of Union Grove, NC. His sire is Muscles Yankee and his dam is Edith’s Chip. Her sire is Pine Chip. Every year Gideon has sent him to Tazewell, Virginia to stand stud. it. This group of 2016 foals were his first babies. Gregory Pecs was the only stallion standing in Virginia until this year when a second one named Artzina joined.
In other action, Jane Dunavant’s Psycho won the sophomore colt trot and Rusty’s Houdini prevailed in the colt pace with a 1:59.0 mile, fastest of the afternoon. Pamela Wagner’s Cate’s A Keeper won the two-year-old filly trot while Larry Jackson’s Hillbillycamtastic was the lone participant, and winner, in the sophomore filly pace.
In Saturday’s pari-mutuel card, driver/trainer Gerry Longo won four races including Twomickeytrip’s 1:54 4/5 score in the Gerald Kelly Memorial Pace. The 8-year-old gelding pacer now has two wins and a third in three starts this fall in Woodstock. Mr. Kelly, who was from Warsaw, Virginia, passed way this summer at the age of 81. He was a harness owner and trainer for over 50 years and competed at Colonial Downs, Rosecroft, Harrington, Dover and Ocean Downs. Longtime horseman Roger Hammer drove horses for Mr. Kelly at the age of 18 and has fond memories of him. “He was one of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet,” said Hammer. “He’d do anything for anyone and was a friend to all.”
Shenandoah Downs’ closing weekend kicks of Friday with a happy hour race card at 3:30 PM, followed by a “Pink Power” program Saturday at 2 PM and the Virginia Breeder’s program Sunday at 12 Noon. Details are at shenandoahdowns.com.