The sixth harness racing season at Shenandoah Downs, with a promotional slogan of “Harness The Mountain Magic”, will run from September 17 – October 16 with racing every Friday at 3:30 PM and Saturday at 1:00 PM. The five-week campaign will feature an average purse distribution of $50,000 per day with another $300,000-plus dedicated to the Virginia Breeder’s stakes program.
The Woodstock oval will be able to accommodate an extra 50 horses in the barn area this year, an increase of 20% over prior years. The backstretch opens on Wednesday September 15 and the track will be available for training that day as well. The horsemen’s entry gate has been relocated to the main Fairgrounds entrance off Ox Road.
After conducting the 2020 meet without fans and wagering due to the Covid-pandemic, Shenandoah Downs will welcome both back this fall. A full slate of promotions will greet attendees including drawings to experience racing in a unique way.
On September 24, four “VIP’s for a Day” will each ride in the starter’s car, announce a harness race, compete in a double seater sulky race, receive lunch, a $20 bet voucher and have a race named in their honor complete with a winner’s circle presentation and commemorative photo.
Twenty-four fans will get a chance to own a horse over three different “VHHA Own a Horse for a Day” events and best of all, keep the share of money their horse earns in a $4,000 race. In all, $12,000 will be given away and three separate fans will walk away with a $2,000 win reward. All “owners” will visit with their horse, trainer and driver in the paddock before the race and enjoy lunch on the track’s VIP trackside deck.
Friday’s “Happy Hour” cards will feature $2 draft beers (16 oz. pours) and $1 hot dogs. Saturday events include a free “Harness The Mountain Magic” commemorative t-shirt giveaway, Veterans Day, the Chamber’s Autumnfest Celebration, “Pink Power” Breast Cancer Awareness Day and the ever popular Weiner Dog races. Details on the race season and all promotions can be found at shenandoahdowns.com.
A four-day harness meet during the Shenandoah County Fair will precede the Downs meet itself from September 1 – 4. Racing will take place at 12 Noon each day and renowned race caller Roger Huston will announce the first two days.