Driver Todd Warren Collects Six Wins During Shenandoah Downs’ Spring Season Opening Weekend

(WOODSTOCK, VA — 4/4/2023) — The first ever spring harness season at Shenandoah Downs kicked off Saturday on a warm but blustery afternoon as local Woodstock resident trainer Betsy Brown reached the winners circle in the initial race with Terry’s Watching — runner up in the 2022 Virginia Breeder’s 2-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Trot Championship. Todd Warren drove the Charlie De Vie gelding in his first start this year for owner James Brown, locally based as well.

The 2023 spring racing season kicked off with warm and breezy conditions in picturesque Woodstock.

The Brown/Warren combo connected again later with Ellen’s Wish, 2023 Virginia Breeder’s 3-Year-Old Filly Trotting Champ, in wire-to-wire fashion. Co-owned by Brown and Morgan Marston, the Charlie De Vie mare crossed in 2:02.0 in her fifth lifetime score. 

Driver Todd Warren collected the first of his six weekend wins aboard Betsy Brown’s Terry’s Watching.

Warren, who started competing at Shenandoah in 2022, had six wins over the weekend including a natural hat trick on Sunday aboard Lomangino Standardbreds’ Thaneeya and Make America Great, and with Raymond Burt’s Sporty Dragon. 

Woodstock resident Betsy Brown celebrates her two opening day victories.

Warren, who has made 34,829 career starts with 5,266 wins, is part of a growing accomplished driver colony in Woodstock which includes David Ingraham (7,186 wins), John Wagner (5,766 wins), Roger Hammer (4,421 wins), Fern Paquet Jr. (3,221 wins), Corey Braden (2,420 wins) and newcomer Nick Roland (2,178 wins). A regular and Shenandoah fan favorite since 2016, Tyler Shehan is closing in on his 1,000th driving victory. He had four over the weekend and with 987 now, is just 13 wins shy. 61-year-old driver Ingraham is 11 outings shy of career start number 53,000.

Driver Tyler Shehan had four wins on the first weekend, giving him a career total of 987.

New York based trainer Mike Annunziata brought five horses to Woodstock over the weekend including $1.6 million earner Doctor Butch. The 13-year-old Art Major horse, who finished fifth in Sunday’s $10,000 Open Handicap Pacing feature, headed to Charlottesville after the race where he will stand as part of the Virginia Harness Horse Association’s lucrative new Sired Stakes program. Nick Roland’s Alilthundadownunda did win the feature by a head over Archie Buford’s Ideal Big Guy in 1:55 4/5.

Driver Nick Roland is competing at Shenandoah Downs for the first time this spring. He had four wins on opening weekend.

Annunziata did end up winning races though with three of his other four horses — Gotta Minute N, Lovin Miss Daisy N and Milady Denver A.

Trainer Mike Annunziata had three wins opening weekend.

Trophies from the 2022 fall meet were presented to category winners during Sunday’s card. Stacey McLenaghan, who received hardware as leading trainer, ushered in the ’23 spring meet with three victories including one with Creekside Pete in the co-featured $10,000 Open Handicap Trot. Fiance Corey Braden drove the 7-year-old Uncle Peter gelding to his 21st lifetime victory for owner David Jarvis.

Fern Paquet Jr. accepted leading driver honors for the third straight meet while owner Shantae Gant and trainer Mike Whitaker accepted Horse of the Meet honors for Theorem, who had four wins, a pair of seconds and a third at last fall’s 8-week stand. 

Shenandoah Downs continues its spring session thru May 14 with racing every Saturday and Sunday at 1 PM. The track’s simulcast signal, which is now being streamed in a high-definition format, is available to wager via TVG, Twinspires, Xpressbet and NYRAbets an at many other tracks and OTBs. Free Trackmaster past performance programs will be available at beginning this weekend.