WOODSTOCK, VA — 5/5/2023) —-Participants who supported Virginia’s new Certified Residency Program from its beginning four years ago will be rewarded this weekend with four $25,000 Certified races — two Paces and two Trots — open to 2019, 2020 and 2021 foals that completed their minimum six-month in-state residency.
Saturday’s “Derby Day” card, which begins at a special 2:30 PM post time, showcases the Pacing events in Races 1 & 2.
Dr. Scott Woogen and Brenda Messenger’s KJ Hunter — with a $76,550 bankroll and 1:52 2/5 life mark — is the early favorite in the first. The 4-year-old Huntsville gelding invades from Saratoga and will depart from post five with Fern Paquet Jr. in the bike. Pamela Wagner and Woogen’s Nicki’s All In is fresh off a Maryland Sire Stakes prep win May 2 at Rosecroft in 1:55 1/5. The 3-year-old Rusty’s All In gelding gets the rail with Trae Porter aboard.
Woogen and Brenda Messenger’s KJ Unreal is a 1-2 favorite in Race 2. Todd Warren will pilot the 4-year-old So Surreal gelding who ships in from Monticello with $48,684 in earnings. Elwood Tignor and Deborah Mulligan’s Cool Breeze is 4-1 second choice in the field of five. The 4-year-old Cool Flying Fun gelding won in his second start of the meet but has raced over sloppy tracks the last three outings in Woodstock. Saturday’s weather calls for sunshine.
Sunday’s respective Certified Trots feature a pair of James Brown-owned horses that are favored in each.
Terry’s Watching, 5-2 in the first division, and Ellen’s Wish, 2-1 in the second, are both by Charlie De Vie and both have multiple wins this meet. The former is 3-for-3 at the Woodstock spring campaign while the latter started out with back-to-back wins in early April. Todd Warren, who has been in the sulky for all five victories, will drive both.
Marna Shehan’s Cantab Speed and Claudia Van Ostwalden’s Long Ranger are next early choices in the first division while the Woogen/Wagner owned K J Alexander and Jane Dunavant’s Big Daddy D are next in line in the second grouping.
Shenandoah Downs is available to wager on all major online betting platforms and at many OTB sites around the country. Free Trackmaster past performance programs and Derby Bill’s daily tip sheet are available at shenandoahdowns.com. The current meet continues thru May 14.