Harness action at Shenandoah Downs switches from a Friday/Saturday racing schedule, which was conducted during the meet’s first five weeks, to a Saturday/Sunday schedule beginning this weekend. That schedule will continue for the season’s final three weeks, through November 6. Post time both days is 1:00 PM.
Fans should note the Saturday October 22 “4H/FFA Agriculture Day” card is non-wagering. Betting will resume the next day — Sunday October 23rd — when the popular Wiener Dog races will be held in conjunction with the standardbred events.
Virginia Breeder’s elimination races for pacers and trotters of both sexes will be held the next two weekends. Three-year-olds will compete on October 22/23 and two-year-olds will clash on October 29/30. The slate of preliminary races leads up to the $650,000 “Day of Champions” card on closing day. Eight divisional title races, each worth $80,000-plus, will be on the line November 6 in addition to a series of $10,000 Breeder’s races for aged horses of both gaits.
This past weekend at Shenandoah, a pair of two-year-old horses continued undefeated seasons in Woodstock and both were dominant again — they have been in front at every point of call throughout their streaks.
Leon Harris’s Prime Hall Caviar won for the second time during the pari-mutuel meet — which followed two wins at the Shenandoah County Fair. The son of Armed Dangerously was parked throughout the first half of the conditioned trot, but still led, and managed to cross 3¼ lengths the best in 2:01.0. The winner’s finishing time has improved in each of his four starts — beginning with a 2:07.0 on August 31. Chuck Perry has been in the sulky for all four victories.
Chuck Perry and Jason Fitzgerald’s Antaeus, a Heston Blue Chip pacer, powered home by 2 ½ lengths as 1-2 betting choice in a $6,750 conditioned event on Friday. After an eight-length win during his lone Fair start, Antaeus breezed through his first pair at the Downs meet, winning handily by 15¾ and 5¼ lengths in 1:56 1/5 and 1:55 3/5 respectively. This past weekend, he crossed in 1:57 1/5. Overall, Perry’s pacer has won seven of eight starts.
Fastest mile of the meet was authored Saturday by Cole Olsen’s Volley Ball Beach, who wired the Open Handicap Pace field in 1:53 1/5, one-fifth of a second faster than the clocking he triggered September 24. Despite that early season success, the 6-year-old Somebeachsomewhere horse was sent off at 6-1 and paid $15.40.
Eighteen-year-old Pennsylvania driver Lucas Myers recorded his first ever pari-mutuel win Saturday aboard Charles Myers and Randy & Theodora Stevenson’s 9-year-old The Panderosa gelding, Hillbillyfairytale. The pacer, who was 1-for-23 this year, wired the field in 1:56 2/5. Previously, Myers had just one driving win and it came aboard the same horse in September, 2021 at the McConnelsville Fair.
“It was a rush for sure,” said Myers afterwards about the win Saturday. “I thought if I put him on top, he wouldn’t get beat. We bought the horse from Hillbilly Haven Farm and he’s been in our family for a while now.”
Saturday’s “Purple Power” card also featured a pair of Ladies Driving Challenge races. Stacy McLenaghan, whose late father Ron was recognized earlier in the card by two Virginia House Delegate members for his contributions to harness racing, captured both the pace and trot events. She scored with Deborah Warnick’s Hey Siri early and with David Jarvis’s Creekside Pete later in the card. Laurie Stark, Betsy Brown and Doreen Dailey also competed.
For the first time ever this meet, fans can “Harness the Mountain Magic” by wagering Shenandoah Downs racing action via TVG, XpressBet, TwinSpires and NYRABets. Live video steaming is available through those four partner sites and also at shenandoahdowns.com.