(WOODSTOCK VA. — 7/7/2020) — The fifth annual harness racing season at Shenandoah Downs will kick off September 18 and continue through October 17 with racing scheduled every Friday at 3:30 PM and Saturday at 2:00 PM. Parking and admission are free and the races are family friendly.
Shenandoah may be one of the few tracks in the country whose planned purse distribution and season length will not be affected by the Covid pandemic. Between $45,000 – $50,000 in purse monies will be given away on average daily, and the meet will extend over five weekends, as planned initially.
A slate of Virginia Breeder’s elimination and championship races will be held over three consecutive Saturdays at their announced purse levels. Three-year-old elims for pacers and trotters of both sexes will be contested on September 19 followed by two-year-old elims the next Saturday. The annual Championship showcase program will be held October 3 for both age groups and feature $40,000-plus purses for each of those eight different finals. A series of Virginia Breeder’s aged stakes will complement the freshmen and sophomore stakes that afternoon.
Due to potential Covid-related restrictions, there will not be wagering on the races this year. “We want to err on the side of caution,” said Virginia Harness Horseman’s Association Executive Director Debbie Warnick. “At this point, we can only have limited attendance at the races and feel it is in the best interest of everyone to not offer wagering. Betting stations are only available in a small concourse area and we don’t think social distancing guidelines could safely be adhered to with a constant flow of traffic heading to and from the betting area each race.”
Shenandoah Downs does not uplink its races to simulcast locations yet and relies solely on fans betting at the track. Plans are for pari-mutuel wagering to resume in 2021.
Racing applications for horsemen are now available on line at vhha.net and shenandoahdowns.com and must be turned in by August 9. The barn area will open Monday September 14 and the track will be open for training beginning that day. Draws will take place on Tuesday for Friday cards and on Wednesday for Saturday programs. Dee Lineweaver returns as Director of Racing for the third straight season.
Shenandoah Downs is located in Woodstock, Virginia, halfway between Harrisonburg and Winchester off I-81 at Exit 283 in the scenic Shenandoah Valley. For questions, call Debbie Warnick at 443-463-0917.