Woodstock, VA — Entries will be taken early this week for the first two race days at Virginia’s Shenandoah Downs as the fourth pari-mutuel harness racing season gets underway this coming Friday (Sept. 13).
Entries for that first Friday card will be taken Tuesday (Sept. 10). Entries for the Saturday (Sept. 14) program will be accepted on Wednesday (Sept. 11). The race office opens at 7:30 a.m. on draw days and entries will be taken until 9 a.m. Online entry is encouraged, but horsemen can also call entries in at 540.459.5170 or 540.459.5455. Scratch time is 9:30 a.m. the following day.
The five week season will continue every Friday at 3:30 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. until Oct. 13. The new Friday Happy Hour race cards feature one dollar draft beer, one dollar hot dogs and post-race karaoke. A pair of non-betting racing events will also take place on Sunday (Oct. 6 and 13). Virginia Breeder’s prep races for 2- and 3-year-old pacers and trotters of both sexes will be first up, followed by the $300,000 (est.) Breeder’s Championships on closing day.
Opening weekend will feature promotional appearances by a pair of Hall of Famers — legendary horse Foiled Again and driving great John Campbell. Foiled Again is the richest Standardbred of all time and last fall earned career victory number 104 at Shenandoah Downs. The now 15-year-old pacer retired Jan. 1 with 109 wins. He will take a lap over the Woodstock oval both Friday and Saturday, then host a “meet and greet” both days with fans the rest of the afternoon. The first 600 attendees on Saturday will receive a free commemorative Foiled Again t-shirt.
John Campbell will help usher in the season with an appearance on Friday. Fans will get a chance to meet the highly accomplished reinsman whose horses bankrolled nearly $300 million in purse monies. Campbell will also take Foiled Again out for a lap on Friday between races.
Another meet highlight is an “Own a Horse For a Day” promotion, sponsored by the Virginia Harness Horse Association. On three separate occasions — Sept. 14, 21 and Oct. 5, fans in attendance will be selected via random drawings to own a horse in a $4,000 race the following weekend. They will get to visit their respective horse, trainer and driver in the stable area for photo opportunities and best of all, keep the purse earnings their horses win. One person is guaranteed to take home the winner’s share of $2,000 on each occasion.
Other key promotions include a baseball cap giveaway on Sept. 21, weiner dog races on Sept. 28, an “Autumnfest” BBQ/Craft Beer Festival on Oct. 5, and the “Pink Power” Breast Cancer awareness event on Oct. 12 which raises funds for the local American Cancer Society chapter.
Shenandoah Downs is located at Exit 283 off I-81, halfway between Winchester and Harrisonburg. Both parking and admission are free and the races are family friendly. More details are at www.shenandoahdowns.com.