Tropical storm can’t stop USHDC’s Woogen and McLenaghan at Shenandoah

Shenandoah, VA – With tropical storm Ophelia knocking at the door producing strong winds and heavy rains, trackman J.D. Thomas still had the understandably sloppy racing surface at Shenandoah Downs very safe for racing on Saturday (Sept. 23) with the U.S. Harness Drivers Club getting their fall season underway with three events on a busy 12-race program.

Amateur driver Scott Woogen, instrumental in finding a home for the club with Racing Secretary Dee Lineweaver, celebrated the festivities by winning the first two of the events, first, with Im Chiara (Thinking Out Loud) and following that up 19 minutes later with a gutsy win from the veteran Freak On A Leash (World Of Rocknroll).

The third amateur event went to Queen Kendall (Kenneth J), very ably handled by Stacey McLenaghan.

Wooden took the USHDC opener after circling first up from fourth and drawing on even terms with the leader at the third station to go on to score by 1-1/4 lengths over Machet Time, driven by Richard Bertrand, with I’ve Got Hootspa, with John McNeil III in the bike, third.

Team Captain was fourth for Adrian Wisher, Jr. while Skyway Three Ball, with Tony Dinges handling the lines, picking up the nickel.

For the 5-year-old Im Chiara, it was her second win of the year and 11th success lifetime boosting her career earnings to $83,074. She’s trained by Tom Hall for owner Daniel Chancy and paid $7 as third choice in an evenly matched field.

Freak On A Leash, the 8-year-old warhorse, earned his 36th lifetime win the hard way, getting in a heated war when the gate opened and he was hung out to dry like wet laundry through a demanding half of :57 before sprinting clear during the third panel and held safe in the final stages of a 2:00 mile.

Wooden was, again, in the sulky for owner-trainer Lawrence Cooper.

Henry The Dragon, closing fastest of all for Wyatt Long, was next, coming from more than 10 lengths away halfway through the mile.

Windemere Frank was third for Tony Dinges while Justin Griffith was next with Doc’s Papparazzi. Adrian Wisher, Jr. was the pilot back of Jk’s Riot, who picked up the final award.

Freak On A Leash paid $8.80 to his faithful while vaulting his lifetime earnings over the $150,000 mark—$151,090 to be precise.

Amateur driver Stacey McLenaghan gave her 10-year-old mare, Queen Kendall, picture perfect handling by using her inside post to lead through fractions of :29.4 and 1:02.1 before a :58.4 sprint home held off the rugged performance of Sea Of Line, driven by Tony Dinges, by a quarter length. Mystery Dragon was third for Richard Bertrand while Moneyorroses, driven by Adrian Wisher, Jr. was fourth. Intrigued Again was fifth for Justin Griffith in the five-horse field.

Queen Kendall paid $12.60 as the second choice with this win—her 31st lifetime—vaulting her lifetime bounty over the $200,000 plateau, now standing at $202,962.

Woogen, by the way, with his double on this Shenandoah program now has 213 career wins and his 7-8-4 scorecard in 38 starts this year pushed his batting average over the .300 mark.

Stacey McLenaghan now has 36 career victories to go along with 376 training wins.

The USHDC, formerly the Florida Amateur Driving Club, has donated more than $300,000 to worthy charitable causes since its inception due to the generosity of the members donating 100% of their driver’s fees to the club for charitable distribution.

Among their beneficiaries have been Make-A-Wish Foundation, New Vocations, Vinceramos Therapeutic Riding Center, Equine Sanctuaries, and Tomorrow’s Rainbow.

Besides weekly competition at Shenandoah Downs, the Club will also be competing at Cumberland Run in Kentucky.

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