Scenes From The 2021 Shenandoah Down Harness Racing Season In Woodstock, VA

The sixth season of pari-mutuel harness racing in Woodstock, VA took place from September 17 – October 16 and the ten day meet was the most lucrative ever for horsemen. A total of $1,526,557 in purse monies were distributed including eight Virginia Breeder’s Stakes worth a combined $684,225.

The meet is always met with enthusiastic crowds who enjoy racing in an old school environment. There are no Sky Suites or dining rooms — just a grandstand on the Shenandoah County Fairgrounds that has hosted standardbred racing for 104 years during the annual County Fair.

Fans are on top of the action which provides an intimate experience. Appreciative crowds cheer the horse that wins, and the horse that finishes last. The scene is very laid back. Admission and parking are free. Happy Hour racing on Friday features $2 draft beer and $1 hot dogs.

Keep an eye out for an expanded season in 2022. The five week meet could grow to as many as eight weeks! In the meanwhile, check out scenes from the fun we had this fall.

A Powder Puff Derby was held on Pink Power Breast Cancer Awareness Day that featured all female drivers. Stacy McLenaghan (2nd from right) was victorious.
The reaction when driver Billy Carter gives you his whip after winning a race.
The harness races became a popular outing for students at nearby James Madison University.
The mountain scenery in Woodstock provides a great backdrop for racing. Sugar Creek’s home made ice cream is an added bonus fans can enjoy.
Popular local harness horseman Winston Lineweaver passed away early in the meet. A Memorial Race was held in his honor on closing weekend.
Woodstock-based owner, trainer and driver Betsy Brown was recognized by the Virginia General Assembly with a proclamation on opening day for achieving 500 driving wins. She appeared on Channel 3 in Harrisonburg to talk about her career in racing.
Shenandoah Downs uses double seater sulkies for promotional purposes, which give fans a chance to compete in an exhibition race while sitting next to a professional harness driver.
The Virginia Harness Horse Association (VHHA) sponsored three “Own a Horse for a Day” promotions where fans got a chance to actually own a horse, meet their horse and driver in the paddock, and keep the money their horse earned in a $5,250 race!
Trotter Judge Bob and driver Jonathan Roberts in the winners circle after crossing the wire in 1:56 4/54, fastest trotting mile of the meet.
Danarius Dortch is all smiles after recording his first ever driving win aboard Dancin Eyes.
Fans watch from the grandstand entrance as horses cross the wire.
Family and friends of long time harness horseman Ron McLenaghan gathered in the winners circle after a Memorial Race in his honor on closing weekend. The Providence Forge based trainer/driver passed away in December, 2020.
Driver Tyler Shehan with his son Logan in the winners circle after prevailing in a race.
An award winning hat from the 2021 Fancy Hat contest, part of Pink Power Breast Cancer Awareness Day.
Michael Whitaker (far left), trainer of Horse of the Meet Vulcan Hanover, with connections of the trotter who went an amazing 5-for5 during the meet.
David Lermond, Virginia Racing Commission Executive Director, presents a trophy to trainer Marna Shehan for winning the $80,000 Virginia Breeders 3-Year-old Colt Pace.
William Carter (left) with Laura & Wes Shanklin of Indiana, VIP Guests for a Day on September 24, who competed in a double seater sulky race as part of their big day in Woodstock.