Virginia Racing Commission Approves Inaugural Shenandoah Downs Season At Its Thursday Meeting

(Richmond, VA—8/18/16) —- The Virginia Racing Commission gave unanimous approval at its Thursday (August 18) meeting to bring pari-mutuel harness racing back to the Commonwealth this fall at Shenandoah Downs. The limited license request was submitted by the Virginia Downs Foundation. The Virginia Equine Alliance (VEA) will provide race office personnel and conduct the races, and the Virginia Harness Horsemen’s Association (VHHA) will provide $800,000 from its purse account to fund the races.

In the request presentation Thursday, VEA Executive Director Jeb Hannum noted ten days of racing will occur this fall over five consecutive weekends from September 10 – October 9, and races will be held every Saturday and Sunday at 1:00 PM. An extensive $700,000-plus track renovation project reached the completion stage this past week and everyone is looking forward to getting horses on the track for the upcoming meet.

Mr. Hannum also noted the weather challenges workers faced early in the renovation process when an unusually wet spring caused delays. Despite those issues, work was completed on schedule. He extended special thanks to Dr. Scott Woogen, President of the VHHA, Tom Eshelman, GM of the Shenandoah County Fair, and David Lermond, Executive Secretary of the VRC.

Woodstock renovation pic2 aug 4

Dr. Woogen also thanked all parties for their cooperation in the ambitious project. “Shenandoah Downs is a track that Virginians should be proud of and it will be one of the finest half mile ovals for racing in the country.” The VHHA President added he was thrilled at the response horsemen have shown in support of the track and he is expecting a full barn/stable area.

“This is a very significant day,” added D.G. Van Clief, Chairman of the Virginia Racing Commission. “The Commission approved a new racetrack and meet today along with a slate of racing officials. This is a big step forward as we rebuild the Virginia racing industry.”

United Tote To Provide Wagering Services For Upcoming Harness Season at Shenandoah Downs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Vic Harrison, Senior Director of Sales, United Tote #502-394-1165

United Tote Company Announces New Tote Service Agreement with Virginia Equine Alliance at Shenandoah Downs 

LOUISVILLE, KY. (August 8, 2016) – United Tote, a leading worldwide supplier of pari-mutuel totalisator operations, systems and financial services, announced today that it has entered into a new agreement with the Virginia Equine Alliance (VEA) to provide tote services and equipment to Shenandoah Downs in Woodstock, Virginia.

“It’s an honor to be the first tote operator to offer pari-mutuel wagering at the Shenandoah track, which for the past 98 years has run racing with no wagering available to fair-goers,” said Vic Harrison, United Tote’s Senior Sales Director. “And it’s personally gratifying to be a continued meaningful part of the rebuilding of Virginia’s racing industry.”

Even while the Shenandoah Downs racing oval is being renovated and prepared for a September 10th debut, United Tote is installing its equipment.  Jeb Hannum, VEA Executive Director, said, “It will be a fun five weeks here in Woodstock, Virginia this fall. There’s a lot of enthusiasm about this project, not just from the horsemen, but from the community as well. It’s taken a tremendous effort from many different parties to ensure that Shenandoah Downs is the new home of harness racing in the

Commonwealth and we’re pleased that United Tote is partnering with us in this venture.”

United Tote has deep experience with short term meets in Virginia as the tote operator for the prestigious Virginia Gold Cup’s Steeplechase and Thoroughbred events and last year’s Harness Racing fair meet at Oak Ridge.  This news follows the recent announcement that United Tote has expanded its roster of special event customers to include the Little Brown Jug in Ohio and the North Dakota Horse Park in Fargo.

Nate Simon, President of United Tote said, “We are very pleased to be working with the VEA and building upon the success of our Virginia Gold Cup partnership.  We share their zeal and commitment to the bright future of Virginia racing and we are excited about the continued growth of racing and wagering in the state.”

ABOUT UNITED TOTE

United Tote, wholly owned subsidiary of Churchill Downs Incorporated, is a leading supplier of totalisator systems, services and equipment, pari-mutuel settlement services, and technology that processes wagers and payouts, and is a provider of pari-mutuel tote services to racing operations such as leading racetracks Arlington Park, Churchill Downs, Keeneland, Canterbury Park and The Fairgrounds. United Tote designs, manufactures and operates pari-mutuel wagering systems for more than 150 racing companies and numerous OTB facilities in North America and around the world.

SHENANDOAH DOWNS TO HOLD INAUGURAL MEETING BEGINNING SEPT. 10

The newly enlarged and renovated track at the Shenandoah Fairgrounds
(formerly Woodstock Raceway) will host its first pari-mutuel meet
beginning Saturday, Sept 10 and it will race on Saturday’s and Sunday’s
for five weeks.

Among the renovations are enlargement and improvement to the fair track
which has served horsemen for 98 years. At this point the horses will
score 8 across on the starting gate, improved services, temporary stalls
and a general “freshening up” of the physical plant, while keeping the
“county fair” charm.

The Shenandoah County Fair will be held the week immediately before the
parimutuel meet opens so any issues will have been identified and
handled before pm racing starts. We anticipate the smallest purse being
$3,500 and total purses daily of approximately $50,000. Each card will
have approximately ten races. There is stabling available for the entire
meet with both a campground and local hotels available for horsemen
electing to come to the first meet. VA Preferred horses will have
preference in all races, but it is anticipated that most events will be
opened up.

Stall applications are available here and they
must be returned to Shenandoah Downs by noon on Monday, August 8th. If
space allows horsemen will be able to ship in for the weekend, but that
won’t be decided until the available stall is determined. There will be
approximately 150 stalls available and the stall allocations will be
available on Wednesday, August 17.

Important note to all considering racing at Shenandoah Downs, per
Virginia State Law:

HORSES ENTERING THE GROUNDS:

ALL HORSES ENTERING THE GROUNDS MUST BE ACCOMPANIED BY A VALID:

1) HEALTH CERTIFICATE DATED WITHIN 30 DAYS (THE RACING OFFICE MAY
REQUIRE ADDITIONAL HEALTH CERTIFICATES AT ITS DISCRETION;

2) VERIFICATION OF NEGATIVE COGGINS TEST DATED WITHIN 12 MONTHS; AND

STATE LAW REQUIRES THAT COGGINS TEST REPORT MUST BE HARDCOPY (ORIGINAL
OR PHOTOCOPY) AND MUST BE AVAILABLE FOR PRESENTATION ON THE GROUNDS.

ENTRIES FOR RACES:

HORSES ENTERING RACES AT SHENANDOAH DOWNS MUST HAVE A COGGINS TEST
POSTED ON THE USTA WEBSITE AT THE TIME OF ENTRY, OR MUST PRESENT A
HARDCOPY OF THE CURRENT COGGINS TEST REPORT TO THE RACING SECRETARY,
BEFORE ENTRY.

HERPES VACCINATION DATED WITHIN 7 TO 90 DAYS IS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED.

For more information on the upcoming meet please contact Mike Wandishin
302-509-1861.

WELCOME STANDARDBRED HORSEMEN

THE VIRGINIA HARNESS HORSE ASSOCIATION WOULD LIKE TO INVITE ALL STANDARDBRED HORSEMEN TO ATTEND THE INAUGURAL RACE MEET AT THE NEWLY RENOVATED SHENANDOAH DOWNS, (FORMALY KNOWN AS WOODSTOCK) IN NORTH WESTERN VIRGINIA. THE TRACK AND GROUNDS HAVE BEEN COMPLETELY RENOVATED:

  • ½ MILE TRACK WIDENED TO ACCOMADATE 8 HORSES
  • TURNS BANKED
  • STABLES FOR MORE THAN 100 HORSES

WITH THE DEMISE OF COLONIAL DOWNS AFTER OUR 2014 RACE MEET THE VHHA BOARD MADE A COMMITMENT TO CONTINUE RACING AND GROW OUR INDUSTRY IN VIRGINIA.

IN 2015, WE WERE ONLY ABLE TO SECURE 4 DAYS OF RACING AT OAKRIDGE WHILE WE WERE LOOKING FOR A MORE PERMANENT HOME. WITH THE COOPERATION OF THE SHENANDOAH COUNTY FAIR, THE VIRGINIA EQUINE ALLIANCE AND THE VIRGINIA HARNESS HORSEMENS ASSOCIATION WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO SECURE A FIVE YEAR LEASE WITH THREE FIVE YEAR OPTIONS AT SHENANDOAH DOWNS.

RACING IN 2016(SUBJECT TO THE APPROVAL OF THE VIRGINIA RACING COMMISSION) WILL BE TEN DAYS IN SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER. RACING WILL BE ON SATURDAY AND SUNDAY STARTING SEPTEMBER 10TH AND ENDING SUNDAY OCTOBER 9TH WITH A PURSE AVERAGE OF 50K PER DAY.

PLEASE VISIT OUR WEBSITE AT VIRGINIA HARNESS HORSE ASSOC OR THE NEW WEBSITE AT SHENANDOAH DOWNS FOR UPDATES AND MORE INFORMATION.

PLEASE BECOME A MEMBER OF THE VHHA (FORM ENCLOSED) AND HELP SUPPORT OUT EFFORTS TO GROW AND EXPAND THE NUMBER OF RACE DATES IN FUTURE YEARS.

THERE ARE PLANS TO EXPAND THE ELIGIBILITY RULES FOR VIRGINIA BREDS TO ENCOURAGE GREATER PARTICIPATION BY VIRGINIA RESIDENTS.

WE ARE CONTINUALLY GROWING AND NEED YOUR SUPPORT, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTACT US FOR MORE INFORMATION OR QUESTIONS.

STALL APPLICATIONS ARE ON THE VHHA WEBSITE (VHHA.NET) AND WE WILL POST CONDITION SHEETS AS SOON AS THEY ARE AVAIDABLE.

E MAIL INFO@VHHA.NET         PHONE 757-876-3374

DR SCOTT WOOGEN MD.

PRESIDENT – VHHA

Virginia-Bred horses compete in prep races at Oak Ridge

Arrington, VA — Blueridge Pushy and Riggy, respective 2-year-old Virginia-bred champions last year in the filly and colt pacing divisions, captured their 3-year-old $5,000 prep races Saturday (Oct. 10) at the Oak Ridge Estate as harness racing returned to the scenic venue for the first time since 2001.

Herman Hagerman’s Blueridge Pushy beat four other fillies in her race, the first pari-mutuel harness event contested at the one mile oval in 14 years. J D. Wengerd directed the 3-1/4 length victory in 2:02, and in identical fashion to 2014’s finale, beat the same runner-up and third place finishers in the same order again Saturday. Freddy Darby’s Loves You Baby was second and Scott Warnick’s Here Comes Lucy ended up third. Blueridge Pushy is a Badlands Hanover filly out of Cam’s Pushy Woman by Cambest.

Brian Burton’s Riggy also held off four foes to reach the winner’s circle in the male counterpart. The Riggins gelding covered the mile in 2:00.0 and beat Majestos by two lengths. Riggy came to Virginia on a roll, fresh off a pair of runner-up finishes and a dominant victory in Maryland. Leonard Hubbard owns the victor, who will defend his title next Sunday in the $40,000 final.

The two Virginia-bred trotting preps were held as non-bettors prior to the card and a pair of long time conditioners scored wins in very different fashion. Renfrow Hauser’s Max Santorini went wire-to-wire in the colt/gelding trot but held on to win by just a nose over a pesky Flaming Caviar. Charlie Dunavant’s Ah Me didn’t rely on a close call, rolling to a 20 length triumph over stablemate Kiss My Cart in the filly division. Max Santorini, a Gregory Pecs colt out of Luring Maxine, by Luring, crossed in 2:11.1 while Ah Me, a Mr. Commando filly out of Koala Kosmos, by SJ’s Photo, connected in 2:07.1.

Driver Brandon Givens had four wins on the afternoon aboard Mohegan Hanover, Youcantstopthis, Stealin The Show and Somewhere With You. The first trio came within the day’s first six races and interestingly, the hot reinsman recorded his next one in the seventh race with a horse that was overlooked at 60-1. Somewhere With You returned $132.00 for a $2 win ticket.

Racing at Oak Ridge continues Sunday with a nine race card beginning at 1:00 p.m.  Virginia-bred 2 year-old prep races take center stage with a quartet, all featuring a $5,000 purse.

 

–Derrell Wood

Virginia-bred races set for opening weekend at Nelson County’s Oak Ridge Estate

Arrington, VA—A total of eight $5,000 Virginia-bred prep races highlight action on the track this weekend as harness racing returns to the Oak Ridge Estate’s one mile oval in Nelson County for the first time since 2001. Three year olds will prep on Saturday and two year olds on Sunday. An additional 14 pari-mutuel weekend races are scheduled, and all are presented by the Virginia Equine Alliance.

Twelve races, with a total 73 horses entered, fill Saturday’s card including a pair of non-betting events at 11:45 a.m. and 12 noon, followed by ten wagering races that start at 12:30 p.m. A trio of last year’s Virginia-bred divisional champs, who won as 2 year olds, are back to defend their titles as 3 year olds. Herman Hagerman’s Blueridge Pushy headlines the filly pace while Brian Burton’s Riggy is favored in the colt/gelding pace, and Charlie Dunavant’s Kiss My Cart draws most attention in the filly trot.

The top three finishers from 2014’s freshmen filly pace all return to renew their rivalry in the competitive kickoff race. Blueridge Pushy, who scored a 1:55 4/5 win at Northfield in August, is early favorite while Freddy Darby’s Loves You Baby is the second choice. Trainer Scott Warnick’s Here Comes Lucy, third last year, is the third selection. Loves You Baby, who has started just once in 2015, lost her 2 year old prep by just a neck and the championship by a length. Here Comes Lucy on the other hand, has had an active 3 year old campaign, earning $21,927 from 10 starts.

Riggy had been aggressively tabbed as 4-5 early pick in the colt/gelding pace while Chuck Perry’s Majestos is not far behind at 3-2. Riggy is coming in fresh off back-to-back 2nd place finishes at Rosecroft in 1:55 1/5 and 1:55 2/5 while Majestos has been racing consistently during the summer and early fall at the Ocean Downs and Harrington half mile ovals.

Both of Saturday’s trotting preps feature three horse fields and will be non-betting events. Kiss My Cat, who won the filly title last year by 5 3/4 lengths over Elma Lou in 2:04 4/5, squares off against the runner-up again while trainer Mark Gray has a pair in the Virginia-bred male counterpart with I Am Delightful and Flaming Caviar.

There are 10 races scheduled on Sunday — one non-bettor and nine on the wagering card, which begins at 1:00 PM. The Virginia-bred 2 year old filly pace, with a field of seven, should be intriguing since five of the entrants will be making their first lifetime start.

The colt/gelding trot features six horses including Neil Damron’s Sweeten Me Up and Renfrow Hauser’s Speedy Taxi. The former brings a hefty bankroll of $61,110 into Oak Ridge while the latter had a respectable second at The Red Mile September 13th in 1:59 1/5.

The remaining preps each sport a three horse field. The filly trot, scheduled as the early non-bettor, has a pair of Dunavant trainees — Cicada’s Song and Devlin — while the colt pace features a Perry trainee —  John’s Dream, who has earned a pair of runner-ups in three lifetime starts.

Gates open at 11 a.m. both days and admission is $5 (kids 12 & under are free). Oak Ridge is located off Route 29 in Arrington, halfway between Charlottesville and Lynchburg. The family friendly weekend will feature children’s activities between and after the races. More details are at www.virginiaequinealliance.com.

 

— Darrell Wood

Oak Ridge prepares for first draw

Arrington, VA — Pari-mutuel harness racing will return to the Oak Ridge Estate this week for the first time since 2001 as the Virginia Equine Alliance presents a two week meet in beautiful Nelson County.

We are getting ready to draw at Oak Ridge. Qualifiers will be drawn Tuesday (Oct. 6) for Wednesday (Oct. 7). The first draw will be Wednesday (Oct. 7) after the qualifiers for Saturday (Oct. 10). We will then draw Thursday (Oct. 8) at 9:30 a.m.

The telephone numbers for Oak Ridge Race Office are 434.263.7614, 7615; the judges are 434.263.7691, 7692.

 

— Craig Andow

Pari-mutuel harness racing returns to Virginia Oct. 10

Arrington, VA — Pari-mutuel harness racing will return to the Oak Ridge Estate next week for the first time since 2001 as the Virginia Equine Alliance presents a two week meet in beautiful Nelson County.

Pacers and trotters can begin shipping onto the grounds Monday (Oct. 5) in preparation for opening weekend, which kicks off Saturday (Oct. 10) at 12:30 p.m. and continues Sunday (Oct. 11) at 1 p.m. The campaign concludes the following weekend, Oct. 17 and 18, with the same post times.

Closing day is highlighted by the annual $320,000 Virginia Harness Champions Day, which features eight divisional title races of Virginia-bred or sired 2- and 3-year-old pacers and trotters of both sexes.

Despite a new venue and location, Racing Secretary Craig Andow anticipates solid support from horsemen, who should come close to filling the barn area. Trainers Mark Gray, Herman Hagerman, Corey Braden and Scott Warnick will bring the largest contingents, with 16, 13, 12 and 11 horses, respectively. Charlie Dunavant will be based there with nine head, Leon Harris and George Anthrop have seven, and Scott Woogen and Arthur Hauser ship in with six apiece. Many others, including locally based Amanda Jackson, will have smaller stables on site.

The track will be open for training daily from 6 a.m. until 12 Noon. Qualifiers will be held on Wednesday (Oct. 7) at 11 a.m.

Saturday’s cards will be drawn Wednesday and Sunday’s entries will be collected on Thursday.

Qualifying times are 2:15 for pacers and 2:17 for trotters. The 3-year-olds are allowed two seconds and 2-year-olds get a three second allowance. Virginia bred, sired or owned horses receive an additional two seconds beyond the age allowance.

The Oak Ridge property has an area near the stables reserved for horsemen where 50 campers can be accommodated for the full two weeks. Insurance will be provided for drivers and trainers. A link to Virginia Racing Commission license applications and W-9 forms, along with other meet details, are at www.virginiaequinealliance.com. Horsemen-related questions can be directed to Craig Andow at 551.204.1796.

The Oak Ridge Estate is located halfway between Charlottesville and Lynchburg off Route 29 in Arrington, Va. (near Lovingston). The exact address is 2300 Oak Ridge Road, Arrington, VA 22922. Based in Nelson County, Oak Ridge is directly in the heart of a craft beer, winery and spirits trail and is surrounded by great hiking opportunities, the Blue Ridge Mountains and Wintergreen Ski Resort.

 

— Darrell Wood