Fields set for inaugural Opens Saturday at ShenandoahOctober 7, 2022,
Woodstock, VA — Todd Warren’s Jack Vernon and Gerald Longo’s A Major Omen have been tabbed respective early favorites in Shenandoah Downs’ inaugural $25,000 Alleghany Open Handicap Trot and $25,000 Blue Ridge Open Handicap Pace on Saturday. The pair of races, named after two mountain ranges that surround the Woodstock half-mile oval, are the richest overnight events in the track’s seven-year history.
Jack Vernon leads a full field of eight trotters in the sixth race. The 9-year-old Muscle Hill gelding has won four of his last five including back-to-back triumphs at Shenandoah in 1:57.1 and 1:57.4. Jack Vernon, with 41 career victories and career purse earnings of $586,965, recorded a 1:53.2 winning mile at Hawthorne Aug. 6. Todd Warren will be in the sulky from post seven.
Nick Callahan’s Star Razor is second choice at 2-1 and will depart from the outside post eight. Fern Paquet Jr. will drive the 4-year-old Dejarmbro gelding who is fresh off a wire-to-wire effort at Harrah’s Philadelphia in 1:53.4. Star Razor’s 2022 bankroll of $89,195 is the highest of any in the field.
Stacey McLenaghan’s Creekside Pete is the third early pick based off 18 in the money finishes this year and a 1:54.2 season’s best clocking at Tioga Downs. The 6-year-old Uncle Peter gelding will be driven by Corey Braden who has guided Creekside Pete in his last nine outings.
Also in the field from the rail out are Campbellini, Vulcan Hanover, Jammin Jack, Tequila N Roses and Mandeville.
A Major Omen, 9-5 early favorite in the pace, has amassed $132,455 in earnings this year and has won five of his last eight including the $50,000 Dan Patch Pacing Final at Running Aces July 24. The 6-year-old Art Major gelding won both his outings at Shenandoah in 2021 — the first in 1:54 — and will be making his first local start this fall on Saturday. Todd Warren will pilot A Major Open for owner/trainer Longo from outside post seven.
Longo will drive his other pacer, EL’s Disco Johnny, from the rail. The 4-year-old Always A Virgin horse finished third as a beaten favorite two weeks ago at Shenandoah but prevailed in back-to-back starts in Open 2 company at Running Aces before shipping east. Longo’s pacer has earned $78,427 this year.
Cole Olsen’s Volley Ball Beach is fresh off a coast-to-coast trip in Woodstock two weeks ago in a meet best time of 1:53.2. The 6-year-old Somebeachsomewhere horse has been solid in his last trio which includes a dominant 6-1/4 length win and close runner-up finish at Ocean Downs. Darren Olsen trains the 2-1 second pick.
Trainer Jennifer Sansone has entered two pacers in the Blue Ridge, which will be contested as the third race. Her McNeil Z Tam has won back-to-back starts at Shenandoah and will be driven by Billy Carter while Shane Adam, a $558,916 earner, was second to Volley Ball Beach Sept. 24.
Rounding out the field are Freak On A Leash and Kotare Yael N.
Special equine celebrity guest Foiled Again will be on site all afternoon for a meet and greet with fans attending the 15-race card which begins at 1 p.m. The now 18-year-old gelding is the highest purse earning Standardbred in history.
Shenandoah Downs races are available to view and wager on four Advance Deposit Wagering sites for the first time ever. Fans can bet via TVG, Twinspires, Xpressbet and NYRAbets. The live video feed is also streamed at shenandoahdowns.com. Past performance pages for Saturday’s 15-race card are available for free at the track website as well courtesy of TrackMaster.