VHHA Matinee Harness Meet Set For Woodstock, Virginia On September 2-4

(WOODSTOCK, VA — 8/25/2020) —- The inaugural “VHHA Matinee Meet” — which replaces the annual Shenandoah County Fair season this year — will be held September 2 – 4 with a daily post time of 2:00 PM. 

The Fair itself, which normally is held over a four-day period in the week leading up to Labor Day weekend, was cancelled due to the Covid pandemic. The Virginia Harness Horse Association will instead present a three-day campaign. 

Harness racing has taken place in Woodstock for 100-plus years.

Entries will be accepted Monday August 31 for the Wednesday (Sept. 2) card, Tuesday September 1 for the Thursday (Sept. 3) card and Wednesday September 2 for the Friday (Sept. 4) program. A condition sheet is online at shenandoahdowns.com and vhha.net. Electronic entries are encouraged. Purses per race will range from $2,000 – $2,500.

The meet is USTA sanctioned and will feature maximum five horse fields. There are no entry fees and no double heats. 

The barn area opens Monday August 31. Horsemen will need to present a Coggins and health certificate at the stable gate for all horses that compete. Standard precautionary Covid-related measures will be in place and are available at both websites. All individuals will be asked several health questions at the stable gate and forehead temperatures will be taken. If anyone registers a 100.4 temperature or higher, the vehicle and all passengers will be turned away.

Bith the VHHA Matinee Meet and Shenandoah Downs meets will be run “spectator-free” in 2020..

“I’m glad that the VHHA is able to sponsor these races and continue the long-standing tradition of harness races in Woodstock this time of year,” said Debbie Warnick, VHHA Executive Director. “It’s great that horsemen will have this opportunity to race their horses since all the tracks were closed so long this spring.”

A five-week Shenandoah Downs meet will begin two weeks after the VHHA Matinee Meet and will be held from September 18 – October 17 with racing every Friday and Saturday at 2 PM. The barn area for the “Downs” session will open Monday September 14.