(WOODSTOCK, VA — 8/31/2020) —- The Virginia Harness Horse Association’s three-day “Matinee Meet” at the Shenandoah County Fairgrounds kicks off Wednesday (September 2) with ten races, each featuring a $2,000 purse. First post is at 2 PM.
The lineup includes a four-pack of Free For All (FFA) events — two for pacers and two for trotters — along with a two-year-old race for each gait and four condition races.
Trainer Arlene Cameron has six horses entered while Roger Hammer, Renfrow Hauser and Teresa Willabus each have four in.
Track record holder John’s Dream, winner of the 2019 Aged Virginia Colt/Gelding Pace, headlines the second FFA race. The 7-year-old Dream Away gelding will make his first start of 2020 for owner/trainer Chuck Perry, who also drives. John’s Dream authored a 1:52 1/5 mile four years ago, fastest ever in Woodstock. He has 34 wins and a career bankroll of $293,929.
Thirteen other horses on Wednesday’s card feature six-digit bankrolls including a pair seeking their 30th victory — Joseph Offutt’s Hickory Aloha and Derrick Cooper’s Free Love.
Sketcher, winner of the 2019 Virginia Breeder’s Three-Year-Old Colt/Gelding championship, returns to compete in the afternoon’s final condition race. The Rusty’s All In gelding has five top-three finishes from eight starts so far this year. He is owned and trained by Elwood Tignor and will be driven by Bill Carter.
Locally based driver Betsy Brown enters Wednesday’s program with 499 career wins in the sulky. She will have four opportunities to get number 500. Brown will try with six-year-old trotting mare Believe In Him in the sixth. The James Brown trainee has won three of seven in 2020 but has been idle since mid-March. She also drives Kwitchyerbellyakin, BP Burner and Hot Rod Pete.
The meet, which replaces the annual Shenandoah County Fair harness campaign this year, continues with programs on Thursday and Friday at 2 PM. The five-week Shenandoah Downs extended meet will run from September 18 – October 17. Due to the Covid pandemic, all races will be run spectator-free. More details are at shenandoahdowns.com.