Two-Year-Olds Battle This Weekend (Sept. 24/25)
John Swart Jr. and Sarah Swart’s Pride Of Windswept, Pamela Wagner’s Trents A Lock and Kelseys For Real, and Caviart Farms’ Caviart Sargent each scored a Virginia Breeder’s 3-year-old prep win this past weekend as Shenandoah Downs opened its sixth season of pari-mutuel harness racing in Woodstock.
2020 2-year-old Filly Trotting Champ Pride of Windswept started her title defense with a very tight win over Scott Woogen’s K J Kyra in the $8,000 3-year-old prep on Friday.
The daughter of Charlie De Vie came into the race with 14 wins in 16 career starts and earnings of $169,975. Frank Milby directed the betting favorite to a pocket trip in a field of seven behind K J Kyra and stayed there until a perfectly timed move just before the wire. Pride of Windswept finished a nose the best in 2:01.0 and will most likely be favored in the $80,000 Championship rematch October 1. The winner is trained by Shaun Callahan. K J Diamond finished third.
Trents A Lock, the ’20 Colt/Gelding Champ, came outside from second just past the half, took over the lead from KJ Ryan and never looked back in his 2:01 4/5 score in the $8,000 male prep. Driver John Wagner, who also trains the Lockkeeper gelding, led the betting choice to a 1 3/4 length win over Jane Dunavant’s Vlahos. K J Wallace was third.
In Saturday’s preps, both 2020 pacing champions — Caviart Skipper and Madisonsallin — finished second.
In the Colt/Gelding Pace, Caviart Sargent wired the field and pushed his bankroll to within $400 of the $100,000 mark. The Well Said gelding crossed in 1:57.0 after cutting initial panels of :28 2/5, :59 2/5 and 1:57.0 with driver Tyler Shehan aboard. The Marna Shehan trainee got his seventh lifetime win and seventh “top three” finish from 28 starts. George and Rose Bonomo’s Caviart Skipper finished a solid second with last fall’s leading driver Fern Paquet Jr. aboard. Harvey’s All in was third.
The weekend finale saw Kelsey’s For Real, one of three Pamela Wagner-owned horses in the non-betting filly pacing prep, edge last year’s champ Madisonsallin — which she also owns — by a nose. Jared Moyer drove the daughter of Rusty’s For Real to a 1:56 4/5 mile after a pocket journey throughout, much like Pride of Windswept’s score the prior day. Owner Wagner’s K J Katherine took third in the five-horse race.
Moving forward, Virginia Breeder’s 2-year-old prep/elimination races take place this weekend — trotting events on Friday (Sept. 24) and pacing preps on Saturday (Sept. 25). Championship races, which now boast an $80,000 purse in each division, will be held the following weekend in the same manner as preps — trotters on Friday (Oct. 1) and pacers on Saturday (Oct. 2). Aged divisions, for $20,000, will be contested the same weekend.