(WOODSTOCK, VA — 9/18/2020) —- Brandy Wine’s Final Decision and Big N Bad won back-to-back races in the day’s fastest times Friday at Shenandoah Downs as the Woodstock, Virginia oval kicked off its fifth annual racing season.
John MacDonald drove both pacers to victory in 1:55 3/5 and 1:55 4/5 respectively. Final Decision won her second lifetime start. The three-year-old Ponder filly took the lead from Hey Siri before the third fraction of her $4,500 conditioned race and never looked back. She pulled away from the field in the stretch and crossed 7 1/4 lengths ahead of Gold Star Stormie.
Big N Bad won his 55th career race in wire-to-wire fashion in his 223rd start. The Vernon Downs invader cut fractions of :27 3/5, :57 1/5 and 1:26 1/5 before powering home in the stretch to win by 4 3/4 lengths. The win pushed the 10-year-old Badlands Hanover gelding’s bankroll to $746,723. A Fool For Mark, a 14-year-old Western Ideal gelding who was making his 413th start, was second. Dustin Ingraham’s pacer raced at Colonial Downs from 2010 – 2014 and returned to compete in Virginia for the first time since then. He was Colonial’s 2011 Horse of the Meet.
Fern Paquet Jr. won a trio of races in his first Shenandoah Downs appearance. He opened the meet with a first race win aboard Jennifer Sansone’s Celebrity Rolex, prevailed in sixth with Sansone’s Hugh Hefner N and in the eighth with William Popfinger’s Queen Me Again. Hugh Hefner N’s 1:55 4/5 finishing time tied Big N Bad’s mark for second fastest of the card.
Shenandoah Downs presents a 13-race program Saturday beginning at 2 PM. A six-pack of Virginia Breeder’s three-year-old elimination races kick off the card followed by respective $7,000 Open Pace and Open Trot events which have both drawn a full field of eight. The races are streamed live at www.shenandoahdowns.com.