WOODSTOCK — Shenandoah Downs' closing weekend kicks off today with a Happy Hour card at 3:30 p.m. featuring $2 draft beers and $1 hot dogs. Saturday's finale goes to post at 1 p.m. and will include a series of wiener dog (dachshunds) races in between the harness races.
A memorial race will be held Friday and Saturday to recognize two longtime Virginia harness horsemen who recently passed away. Winston Lineweaver's legacy will be celebrated Friday and Ron McLenaghan's on Saturday.
The races for Shenandoah Downs take place at the Shenandoah County Fairgrounds. Parking and admission to races are free and family-friendly. Wagering is available at every race.
In last weekend's action, Shantae Gant's Vulcan Hanover all but cemented his status as Shenandoah Downs Horse of the Meet with his sixth consecutive win on Friday --- a convincing 101/2 length romp --- in a $6,750 conditioned trot that went in 1:56 4/5.
The Michael Whitaker trainee has four wins at the current pari-mutuel season in Woodstock and all have come on consecutive weekends with Billy Carter in the sulky. In addition to Saturday's, the margin of victory in each has been impressive --- 20 1/4, 8 1/2 and 5 1/2 lengths. The 4-year-old Donato Hanover gelding also competed at the Shenandoah County Fair meet, which took place the first week in September, where he took three of four. His only blemish was a runner-up finish to Ibanez Sept. 2 when he crossed half a length behind. All eight of his 2021 starts have come at Shenandoah.
Vulcan Hanover has led every step of the way in each of those seven wins with just one exception --- in the Oct. 1 triumph, he was second through the first three fractions before powering forward in the final turn.
On Saturday, the track's annual "Pink Power" Breast Cancer Awareness festivities featured a Powder Puff Derby with all female drivers. Stacey McLenaghan won the $7,000 non-winners of one pace in wire-to-wire fashion aboard Roger Hammer's Light My Torch. The 3-year-old Rocknroll Dance filly was 41/2 lengths the best and crossed in 2:03 2/5. Laurie Stark finished second with Jimmy's Got a Gun, Marna Shehan took third aboard KJ Osmar, Sierra Seidner was fourth with Leroys Skipn Skool and Amanda Blackford took fifth with Americantemptation.
A $15,000 Mares Open Handicap, featured race on the "Pink Power" card, was won by Brady Wine's Come Get The Cash in 1:54 4/5. The 6-year-old Western Terror mare authored fractions of :27 4/5, :57 3/5 and 1:26 2/5 before crossing with a 5 1/2 length cushion over runner-up Gold Star Igotdis. John McDonald piloted the winner who won for the second straight week at Shenandoah, the fifth time this year, and 20th time overall.
In the $10,000 Open Handicap Pace, Gerald Longo's A Major Omen attracted most of the bettors' attention based off a 1:49 3/5 winning mile last out Chester, and the 5-year-old Art Major gelding did not disappoint. Longo, who also trains and drives the pacer, rolled past front stepping Shane Adam at the half and never looked back, crossing the third panel in 1:25 2/5 and the wire in 1:54.0. It was Major Omen's fourth win of the year and 11th lifetime. Longo scored his 2,994th career driving win.
Fern Paquet Jr., Corey Braden and Billy Carter, each of whom is battling for top driver honors, scored driving triples Saturday and enter closing weekend festivities within three wins of each other. Paquet has 16, Braden has 14 and Carter has 13, as does Tyler Shehan.
The trainer competition is just as keen with Marna Shehan on top with 10. John Wagner and Stacey McLenaghan are next with 9 each followed by Michael Whitaker with 8.
Thanks go out to all fans and horsemen who purchased raffle tickets Saturday for 21 various prizes in a "Pink Power" fundraiser. Over $2,000 was raised and will be donated to the American Cancer Society's Shenandoah Valley Chapter.
For more information, visit shenandoahdowns.com.