(WOODSTOCK, VA. — 9/20/2020) —- Driver/trainer Bill Carter swept both Open classes in back-to-back fashion Saturday in Woodstock as Shenandoah Downs concluded its fifth annual opening weekend festivities.
Carter, last year’s winningest reinsman, piloted Pilgrims Lass to a wire-to-wire effort in the $7,000 Open Trot and reached the winners circle again the next race —a $7,000 Open Pace — with Captain McKee.
The former, who faced a full field of seven others, got away strong and authored fractions of :28 3/5, :59 1/5 and 1:28 1/5 before crossing in 1:57 1/5. The four-year-old Muscle Mass mare beat Beguin Dugoutier F by 1 1/4 lengths in earning her third win of the year.
Unlike the Open Trot, Captain Mckee only reached the front of a full field around mid-stretch. Track record holder John’s Dream (1:52 1/5) took control early in the Open Pace and maintained the lead until Carrer’s charge caught him just before the finish.
After an initial quarter of :28 1/5, Captain Mckee came first over before the half and remained outside of King Corona and John’s Dream the next two panels. Once the leader triggered :58 2/5 and 1:26 2/5 fractions, Carter guided his four-year-old Captaintreacherous pacer past King Corona in the final turn and bested John’s Dream by one length at the wire in 1:55 2/5.
Both Open winners are co-owned by William Daggett Jr. and Lawrence Vukovic.
Six Virginia Breeder’s elimination races for three-year-olds kicked off the Saturday card. A trio were decided by one-half length or less.
Both of Arlene Cameron’s filly trotters crossed together in the first race. Cate’s A Keeper — winner of a 2019 Virginia Breeders divisional championship as a two-year-old — and K J Deb crossed together in 2:02 1/5. Eddie Davis Jr. and John Wagner drove respectively. The pair are both owned by Pamela Wagner and Dr. Scott Woogen.
Breeze Away B wired the field in the filly pace division in 1:56.0. Hillbilly Kisses was a game second and lost by just a half-length. The winner is seeking to repeat her championship path of last year when she won both the prep and final as a two-year-old. Breeze Away B is owned and trained by William Fletcher and was driven by Allan Davis. The runner-up was piloted by Frank Milby, is trained by Amamda Jackson and owned by her Hillbilly Haven Farms.
Caviart Sage passed front stepping Virginia Cruiser at the quarter pole, held the lead until the end but had to fend off a pesky K J Michael in deep stretch in a three-year-old colt pace elimination. The Artspeak colt crossed in 1:56 3/5, a head in front of Arlene Cameron’s runner-up. The winner was driven by Tyler Shehan and is trained by Marna Shehan for the Caviart Farms of Vienna, Virginia. Dr. Scott Woogen owns the second-place finisher.
Two-year-olds will compete in a series of elimination races on Saturday, September 26. Finals of both age groups will be held on Saturday October 3.
The Shenandoah Downs meet will continue through October 17 with racing every Friday and Saturday at 2 PM. The meet is being run spectator-free and without wagering, but races are streamed live at shenandoahdowns.com.