Woodstock, VA — Virginia harness racing is poised to take another step forward this fall when Shenandoah Downs ushers in its seventh season of pari-mutuel harness racing beginning Sept. 16 and continuing through Nov. 6, an increase of three weeks from prior meets that ran at the Woodstock oval from 2016-2021.
The dates are pending approval of the Virginia Racing Commission.
The track will host pacers and trotters every Friday at 3 p.m. and Saturday at 1 p.m. through Oct. 15, then switch to a Saturday and Sunday format the final three weeks with a 1 p.m. post both days.
Work began this week on a barn area upgrade that involves leveling out undulating terrain that has always impacted a large section of the backstretch. The project also includes improved drainage, new lighting and new fencing. The improvements, which will be complete in plenty of time for the fall season, will provide horses and horsemen with a safer and more pleasant experience while stabling in Woodstock.
Highlight of the meet is the 25th running of the Virginia Breeders Championships which will be held closing day (Nov. 6). A series of $80,000 pacing and trotting finals for 2- and 3-year-olds of both sexes will take place that Sunday afternoon in a “Day of Champions.” Prep races for 3-year-olds will be held the weekend of Oct. 22-23, and 2-year-old preps will be contested the following weekend, Oct. 29-30.
A full promotional slate will be announced soon. Fans can look forward to four different opportunities to win thousands of dollars in the popular VHHA “Own a Horse for a Day” promotion. Opening Saturday features a commemorative long sleeve t-shirt giveaway while “Purple Power’s” cancer awareness event will include a purple colored knit cap giveaway in time for the cold weather. The “Country Days” weekend on Oct. 7-8 will feature live bands, specially priced food and beverage items, and an invitational race.