Virginia’s Shenandoah Downs opens seventh racing season Friday

Woodstock, VA – Shenandoah Downs ushers in a new era of pari-mutuel harness racing Friday(Sept. 16) when it opens its seventh season in Virginia’s scenic Shenandoah Valley with its longest meet ever, highest average daily purse distribution ever and for the first time, will offer its product to fans around the country via four online wagering sites.

The track, which held five-week meets in each of its first six seasons, will host an eight-week session beginning Friday and continuing through Nov. 6 with racing every Friday at 3 p.m. and Saturday at 1 p.m. The schedule will change for final three weeks with Saturday and Sunday cards at 1 p.m.

Overnight purses will average $75,000 per day. Purses for Breeder’s Fund races, including eliminations and finals over the last three weekends, will total $824,000. The 25th annual Virginia Breeder’s Championships will usher out the meet on Sunday (Nov. 6). In addition, horses that are 100 percent owned by a Virginia resident will get a 50 percent bonus on overnight races, and drivers/trainers that are Virginia residents will get a 50 percent bonus on overnights.

Perhaps most exciting is the ability the track now has to introduce its signal via streaming to online betting customers who utilize TVG, Xpressbet, Twinspires and NYRAbets. Previously, Shenandoah’s handle was generated by on-track attendees and to a smaller degree, thru Virginia’s OTB customers.

0pening weekend features an eight-race card Friday with four pacing and trotting events each, while Saturday’s 11-race program includes nine bouts for pacers.

Saturday’s featured race is a $10,000 Open Trot carded as the sixth race, the kickoff leg of the track’s new showcase daily double wager. The full field of eight includes recent Open Trot winners Wildfire Seelster, Jack Vernon and Adagio De La Tour. The trio have respective purse earnings of $369,936, $576,965 and $514,183. The 2021 Shenandoah Downs Horse of the Meet Vulcan Hanover is in the field as is early favorite Creekside Pete who is trained by last year’s co-leading conditioner, Stacey McLenaghan.

Long time Virginia handicapper “Derby” Bill Watson will provide a free daily tip sheet available at His selections will also appear on the track’s streaming feed.

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