Virginia-Certified Horses Shine in Mountain Racing Series Finals at Shenandoah Downs  

Pam Wagner’s K J Todd, Charles Myers’ Hillbillyclassygirl and Scott Woogen & Brenda Messenger’s KJ Hunter all successfully advanced from their Mountain Racing Series prep race wins a week ago to the winners circle in a series of $25,000 finals Saturday at Shenandoah Downs. Anne McDonald’s My Quick Moni, who broke stride in her prep and finished third, was the only Saturday finals winner to not have prevailed a week earlier. The Mountain four-pack was open to Virginia-Certified 4 & 5-year-old horses who participated in the Virginia Harness Horse Association’s residency program several years ago before they began competing.   

K J Todd captured the Alleghany Trot Final for 4 & 5-year-old horses & geldings April 27.

Driver Fern Paquet Jr. led a well-timed move aboard K J Todd in the final turn against five other horses & geldings in an Alleghany Trot Final. The 4-year-old Trixton gelding easily won his April 20 prep by ten lengths in similar fashion as Saturday — by trotting near the back of the field and making a move after the third marker. In the Finals, K J Todd surged past Jane Dunavant’s Big Daddy D – who had nicely recovered from two earlier breaks — in the final straightaway to cross 2-3/4 lengths the best in 1:59.0. Scott Woogen’s KJ Devil finished second and K J Phillip, another Woogen horse, took third.    

Connections for Hillbillyclassygirl were pleased with her big win in the Blue Ridge Pacing Final for mares on April 27.

Hillbillyclassygirl won her Blue Ridge Pacing Prep by 1-3/4 lengths but on Saturday, dominated the field with a ten-length triumph as a 1-9 favorite. The 4-year-old Racing Hill mare crossed the half up by one and one-half lengths, opened up a three-length cushion at the third marker and powered home uncontested from that point. Guided by 21-year-old Christian Myers, the finishing time of 1:55 1/5 was a nice step forward from her 1:57.0 clocking of a week prior. Ken Weckstein and Brenda Messenger’s Brendas Delight finished second and Mark Gray’s Dancing Beach Girl was third.     

Hillbillyclassygirl in the winners circle.

The Woogen/Brenda Messenger-owned KJ Hunter was three lengths the best in the Blue Ridge Pace Final for horses & geldings. The heavy favorite did not disappoint as he won for the fourth time in his last five starts. The 5-year-old Huntsville gelding led at every stanza except quarter panel two when KJ Hunting stuck a head in front and cut that mark. KJ Hunter crossed in 1:55 3/5 for his 23rd career win. Fern Paquet Jr. drove for trainer Gary Messenger. 

My Quick Moni owner Anne McDonald (left) was all smiles after the 4-year-old mare’s victory in the Alleghany Trot.

My Quik Moni completed a wire-to-wire trip in the Alleghany Trot Final for mares, completing her journey in 2:01 2/5 with trainer Mark Gray in the sulky. The 4-year-old daughter of International Moni had to qualify at Rosecroft during the week after a series of recent breaks but she stayed flat both laps around en route to a 4-1/2 length score over Robert White’s Antares Star. Tracy Bradshaw’s Joan Deer finished third.

Driver/trainer Mark Gray leads My Quick Moni to the winner circle.

On Sunday, a pair of horses won their third straight race at the Shenandoah spring meet — Lawrence & Derrick Cooper’s Caviart Stoney and Eric Thompson’s Checkme. The former established a new life mark on a sunny, 87-degree afternoon in which he was a nose behind Cole Olsen’s Volley Ball Beach turning for home, passed the front stepper then held off fast closing Cirrus de Vie at the finish in 1:53 3/5. Reinsman Billy Carter – who had four wins on the card — led the effort. Archie Burford piloted the latter to a new life mark as well, crossing in 1:56 1/5 in a conditioned pace. The 4-year-old Check Six gelding crossed first in 1:57 3/5 and 1:57 1/5 in his previous two starts.

Chris Cooper leads Caviart Stoney back to the barn area after the 4-year-old gelding won his third straight race at Shenandoah Downs on April 28.

Spencer Goldin’s Lucky Streak won his third race of the meet Sunday, though they have not come consecutively. The 4-year-old Luck Be Withyou gelding wired the field in the afternoon finale and also established a new life mark of 1:53.0. The winner is trained by Alexandra Goldin and was driven by Eric Davis. Lucky Streak has three wins and a second in Woodstock so far this spring.

Billy Carter and his son William will clash on May 4th in a grudge match race aboard miniature horses.

Shenandoah Downs will race at a special 2:05 PM time Saturday May 4. The track will host a “Derby at the Downs” Party which features a slate of exhibition miniature horse races — including a grudge match race between the father-son duo of Billy Carter and William Carter. The spring season continues through May 19.