Stephen Farrell’s Rocksapatriot surged past Volley Ball Beach and Alilthundadownunda in deep stretch to score a big win Saturday in Shenandoah Downs’ $25,000 Blue Ridge Open Pace, highlighting week four action. Despite a sloppy track from morning and early afternoon rains, the final time of 1:52 4/5 was just three-fifths of a second off John’s Dream’s track record time of 1:52 1/5.
A full field of eight went postward in the co-feature. Cole Olsen’s Volley Ball Beach, who triggered a season’s best 1:52 1/5 March 16 at Rosecroft, got to the front and maintained a cushion of between one and two lengths until the stretch as he authored quarter panels of :27 2/5, :55 2/5 and 1:24.0. Olsen, who trains and drives the 7-year-old Somebeachsomewhere horse, had a 1¼ length margin heading into the straightaway.
Rocksapatriot paced comfortably third throughout with David Ingraham aboard while Set The Pace Racing’s Alilthundadownunda had a pocket journey with trainer/driver Nick Roland in the bike. In the stretch, Ingraham came outside with a well-timed move, passed the front steppers and held off Roland’s pacer who crossed 1 3/4 lengths behind.
Rocksapatriot is trained by Kelly Case and collected his 24th lifetime victory pushing his bankroll to the $207,096 mark. Ingraham and Case are both competing at Shenandoah Downs for the first time. Ingraham made career start number 53,000 in Woodstock a week prior.
Shantae Gant’s Vulcan Hanover, who appears to be a horse for the course, dominated the $25,000 Allegheny Open Trot a week removed from setting a life mark of 1:55 4/5. The 6-year-old Donato Hanover gelding immediately got to the front of the six-horse field Saturday and never looked back, triggering fractions of :28.0, :57 4/5 and 1:27 1/5 before crossing in 1:56 4/5. Billy Carter drove for trainer Michael Whitaker.
Vulcan Hanover is now 11-for-16 in pari-mutuel starts in Woodstock. When adding four additional wins from seven Shenandoah County Fair starts to the tally, he is 15-for-23 overall in Virginia.
David Jarvis’s DW’s Revenge was second in the Allegheny while Corey Braden’s Crossfit Mouse took third.
The track also hosted an “Up and Coming Drivers Challenge” the same day which was open to reinsmen ages 18-26. They accumulated points over two races and the driver with the highest point total won a gift bag filled with racing-related items.
21-year-old Trae Porter, who competes in Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania, won the Challenge courtesy of first and fourth place finishes. He won with Theodore Tomson’s TSM Artemis T which provided eight points which followed by a five-point grab with Oscar Johnson’s Danish Dilligence. Porter’s point total of 13 was one better than 20-year-old Cole Olsen’s, who had a pair of thirds and accumulated 12-points.
Other participating drivers were Winter Asher-Stalbaum (19), Wyatt Long (18), William Carter (18), Lucas Myers (19), Declan Donoway (23) and Jamaal Denson (26).
Three weekends remain in the first ever spring racing season in Woodstock. Cards will be conducted this Saturday and Sunday, April 29 & 30 at 1 PM followed by similar slates on Kentucky Derby and Mother’s Day weekends. The Shenandoah simulcast signal, presented in high definition, can be wagered via major online betting platforms and at tracks and OTBs around the country. Free Trackmaster past performance programs are available at shenandoahdowns.com in addition to replays and a live video streaming feed of the races.