Licensing Requirements for Shenandoah Downs Races

All owners, trainers, drivers, and grooms participating in the Shenandoah Downs races are required to be licensed by the Virginia Racing Commission (VRC).  The easiest way to obtain a license is by going to the Commission’s website at and clicking on “Virginia Racing License” in the upper left hand side of the home page or by clicking here.  You will then see a list of documents including the “Racing Application for Participants”, “General Application Instructions, “Fee Schedule”, and “Credit Cart Verification Form”.  Simply print out the application and complete it by referring to the fee schedule and general instructions.  Once the application is completed, signed, and dated you may either mail it along with the appropriate payment to:

5707 Huntsman Road, Suite 201-B
Richmond, VA 23250

You may also scan the application along with the “Credit Card Verification Form” and email to

If you would like your badge mailed to you before the races, your application and payment must be received by August 28th, otherwise badges will be distributed at the VRC table in the Lilly Barn.  The VRC will be on site in the Lilly Barn on Wednesday, September 13th from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Thursday. September 14th from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and on Friday, September 15th from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. for licensing or picking up badges.  (Please note:  All licensing must be completed before participating in a race)

If you have any questions or require assistance with this process, please contact Rhonda Davis at (804) 966-7415.

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.”

The Transformation Of a Harness Track From Fair Oval To Pari-Mutuel Oval

The 99th season of harness racing at the Shenandoah County Fair will take place in Woodstock, Virginia over a 4 day period this year from August 31st – September 3rd. Then, for the first time ever, a pari-mutuel meet will be held there over five consecutive weekends, from September 10th – October 9th.

The difference? Fair races are non-betting but pari-mutuel races will have wagering. Bets that will be offered include win, place, show, exacta and trifecta. In order to accommodate the longer meet, the existing half mile oval at Woodstock had to be widened to allow horses to start eight across the track (behind the starters car), and the turns had to be banked. A tractor pull strip and permanent concert stage also had to be relocated — all part of a $750,000 renovation project.

Cooperation among several key groups made this project a reality. The Virginia Downs Foundation, Virginia Equine Alliance, Virginia Harness  Horsemen’s Association and the Shenandoah County Fair Association all teamed up. The stable area will be filled with horses come opening weekend. Additional promotional activities and festivals are planned for nearly every weekend to complement the trotting and pacing action. ten races will be carded every Saturday and Sunday starting at 1 PM. And the track has a name – Welcome to Shenandoah Downs!

Here’s a before, during and after look at the renovation. See you September 10th!


Hotels Near Shenandoah Downs

  • Comfort Inn
    1011 Motel Dr.
    Woodstock, VA
    Free Breakfast & WiFi – Mention “Harness Race Rate” (15%)
  • Hampton Inn
    1150 Motel Dr
    Woodstock VA
    Free Breakfast & WiFi
  • Holiday Inn
    1130 Motel Dr.
    Woodstock, VA
    Free Breakfast & WiFi
  • Econo Lodge
    1290 S Main St
    Woodstock, VA
    Free Breakfast & WiFi
    1-2 Nights – $60 | 3-4 Nights – $55 | 5-6 Nights – $50 | 7+ Nights $45

    10-15 Miles Away

  • Budget Inn
    28999 Old Valley Pike
    Strasburg, VA
    1 Bed – $60+tax | 2 Beds – $70+tax
  • Fairfield Inn
    33760 Old Valley Pike
    Strasburg, VA
    Free Breakfast & WiFi
  • Ramada Inn
    21 Signal Knob Dr
    Strasburg, VA
    Free Breakfast & WiFi
  • Super 8
    250 Conicville Rd
    Mt. Jackson, VA
    Free Breakfast & WiFi
  • Days Inn
    9360 George Collins Pky
    New Market, VA
    Free Breakfast