(ARRINGTRON, VA.--- 10/11/2015) ---- Harness racing trainer Charlie Dunavant swept both Virginia-bred two year trotting prep races Sunday afternoon at Nelson County's Oak Ridge Estate as opening weekend festivities continued in advance of next Sunday's $320,000 "Champions Day" card. Cicada's Song captured the $5,000 filly division warm-up in 2:14 1/5 while Elton J won the male counterpart in 2:06 2/5. Driver Carlo Poliseno was the common factor in both, though they came in completely different fashion. The first was a blowout win against two other foes who both broke stride in the non-betting race, while the latter one capped off a thrilling stretch duel with Speedy Taxi, winning by a neck. Cicada's Song, who is now 3-for-3, got her first two wins at Harrington in identical 2:01 1/5 times, the most recent of which came in a $20,000 Delaware state-bred event. Elton J, a Dusty Winner gelding, came to the Commonwealth fresh off a runner-up in the same series at Delaware. Jane Dunavant of Kenbridge, Virginia, owns the pair. John's Dream took advantage of an extended early pocket trip in the colt/gelding pace, cruised past front stepping Patrick's Day in deep stretch and earned a one length triumph in 2:04 4/5. The Dream Away colt, who only faced a pair of competitors in the prep, is owned and trained by Chuck Perry, who also guided Hot Jenna to victory in the Virginia-bred filly pace for trainer Mark Gray. Gray's pacer was one of three he had in the race, and that trio provided the most exciting finish of the weekend in a very tight three horse photo. Starting among a field of seven, just a nose separated Gray's group at the wire. He guided Motel Molly to a second place finish and Frank Milby directed his other charge, Flying Pirate, to third. Only two of the entrants, including runner-up Motel Molly, had made a start prior to Sunday. Cody Poliseno, the 21-year-old son of Carlo Poliseno, earned his second driving win ever and third sulky victory Sunday for the family. He guided Carlo's Collect The Brass to victory over several other high earners in wire-to-wire fashion in a $5,000 "winners over" trot. "I thought we had a real shot with him," said Cody. "The focus seemed to be on Sam Hayes but coming to the gate, my horse had so much energy I took him right to the front and he held strong the whole mile.". The 9 year old CR Commando gelding crossed in 1:56 3/5, just two-fifths of a second off hi lifetime best mark. The Oak Ridge meet continues next weekend with cards Saturday at 12:30 PM and closing day on Sunday at 1:00 PM. Darrell Wood
(ARRINGTON, VA. --- 10/10/2015) ---- Blueridge Pushy and Riggy, respective two year old Virginia-bred harness racing champions last year in the filly and colt pacing divisions, captured their three year old $5,000 prep races Saturday 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 2/5, 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 1/5 while Ah Me, a Mr. Commando filly out of Koala Kosmos, by SJ's Photo, connected in 2:07 1/5. 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 off 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 PM. Virginia-bred 2 year old prep races take center stage with a quartet, all featuring a $5,000 purse. Darrell Wood
(ARRINGTON, VA ---- 10/08/2015) --- 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 AM and 12 Noon, followed by ten wagering races that start at 12:30 PM. 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 AM 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
(ARRINGTON, VA.----09/29/2015) ---- 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 October 5th in preparation for opening weekend, which kicks off Saturday October 10th at 12:30 PM and continues Sunday October 11th at 1:00 PM. The campaign concludes the following weekend, October 17 & 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 & 11 horses respectively. Charlie Dunavant will be based there with 9 head, Leon Harris and George Anthrop have 7, and Scott Woogen and Arthur Hauser ship in with 6 apiece. Many others, including locally based Amanda Jackson, will have smaller stables on site. The track will be open for training daily from 6 AM until 12 Noon. Qualifiers will be held on Wednesday October 7th at 11 AM. Saturday's cards will be drawn Wednesday and Sunday's entries will be collected on Thursday. Qualifying times are 2:15.0 for pacers and 2:17.0 for trotters. 3 year olds are allowed 2 seconds and 2 year olds get a 3 second allowance. Virginia bred, sired or owned horses receive an additional 2 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, Virginia (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
(WARRENTON, VA ---- 8/26/2015) --- Harness racing will return to Virginia this October for a four day pari-mutuel meet at the beautiful Oak Ridge Estate in Nelson County. Located just off Route 29 in Arrington, halfway between Charlottesville and Lynchburg, Oak Ridge last played host to pacers and trotters back in 2001. All the action is sponsored by the Virginia Equine Alliance (VEA) and will be contested over a one mile dirt oval on back-to-back weekends --- October 10/11 and 17/18. Wagering on the races will be available all four days. Win, place, show, exacta, trifecta and daily double bets will be offered. Highlight of the meet is the $300,000 (est.) Virginia Harness Day of Champions, scheduled for Sunday October 18th. Eight championship races featuring Virginia's best two and three year old pacers and trotters of both sexes will compete on the same card. Prep/elimination races will be held the prior weekend --- three years olds on Saturday and two years olds on Sunday. In addition to the Virginia Breeders' races, there are seven different late closer series that horses can enter. The first leg of these will be held either Saturday or Sunday of the first weekend, and the respective final legs, which carry purses of between $5,000 and $7,000, will be held on closing weekend. Two of the seven are open handicap races --- the John Holland Jr. Memorial Trot and the Oak Ridge Pace. The remaining five are open to standardbreds that are Virginia owned, bred or sired. Pacing events are named respectively for the USTA, the Holland Family and Nelson County, while the trotting counterparts are named for the VEA and "To All Who Helped Make This Season Happen". The barn area will open Sunday October 4th; qualifiers and the first draw will both take place on Wednesday October 7th. Horsemen must present current coggins papers for all horses upon arrival. For more information or to get stall applications, call Racing Secretary Craig Andow at 551-204-1796. The physical address for the Oak Ridge Estate is 2300 Oak Ridge Road, Arrington, Virginia 22922. For more details on the harness meet and all of the new VEA initiatives, visit www.virginiaequinealliance.com. Darrell Wood
(NEW KENT, VA) --- Colonial Downs will showcase Virginia-bred two and three year old pacers and trotters of both sexes Sunday afternoon in the annual $371,000 "Day of Champions" program, which will usher out the 2014 fall season. The four Commonwealth geared pacing events will be part of an eleven race pari-mutuel card starting at 1:00 PM while the four trotting stakes will be held as non-wagering races starting at 11:30 AM. Perfect Number, fresh off a three length win in last week's "Day of Champions" prep, is the early 9-5 favorite in the $49,400 three year old colt pace. Corey Braden, the meet's leading driver, will be in the sulky again for the Art Official gelding, who will face seven other sophomores in the seventh race. Filomena is the early 4-5 choice in the $48,000 three year old filly pacing championship. She defeated two year old champ Santa Baby by 1 3/4 lengths in last week's prep and hopes to turn the table from a year ago when she finished second to Santa Baby as a freshman. Frank Gannon's Riggy and Herman Hagerman's entry of Cam's Lilly and Blueridge Pushy are favored in the respective two year old $50,375 colt and $46,850 filly pacing divisions. Riggy wired the field in his prep race against five other foes in 1:57 2/5 while Hagerman's pair finished fourth and second a week ago after a tight blanket finish in 2:00 3/5. Here Comes Lucy, who won that race by a neck over two others, is actually the third choice at 4-1. Always Quick Star and Jingle Bells will try to defend their championships from a year ago as freshmen when they compete in the $44,600 filly and $42,000 colt/gelding trots as three year olds. Elma Lou and Wilbur Eden hope to parlay prep wins in the two year old filly and colt trots into championship titles on Sunday when they vie for $45,575 and $44,300 purses respectively.
(NEW KENT, VA --- Perfect Number and Filomena, runners-up in their respective 2013 Virginia-bred colt and filly pacing championship divisions as two year olds, scored wins in their three year old prep races Sunday at Colonial Downs in advance of next weekend's $350,000 Day of Champions card. After Christmas Parade dominated the first half of the $5,000 colt pace, Perfect Number came three wide out of the turn, passed a trio of front steppers in mid-stretch and charged home to win in a lifetime best 1:55 2/5. The Art Official gelding, who won his freshman prep a year ago, crossed three lengths ahead of Top Official. Leading driver Corey Braden directed the effort for trainer Freddy Darby. 2013 champ Handsome Jim was third in Sunday's warm-up. Filomena on the other hand, took the lead from the start and never looked back in the ladies division. The Western Ideal filly triggered quarter fractions of :28 1/5, :58.0 and 1:26 4/5 before closing the deal in 1:54 4/5 nearly two lengths over 2013 champ Santa Baby. Reinsman Braden guided Filomena for trainer Fran Raia II. For the second straight year, the three year old girls were speedier than the boys. The three year old trot events were held as non-bettors before the pari-mutuel card began and both freshman champs returned to the winners circle again. Always Quick Star, fresh off a win, second and third at the current fall meet, scored in the filly division in 2:01 3/5 while Jingle Bells (2:01 4/5) only had to beat one other foe in a two horse colt division. In Saturday's two year old prep races, Here Comes Lucy took advantage of a pocket trip and captured the filly pace prep in a thrilling finish where a neck margin separated the top three finishers. Pace setter Cam's Filly carried a slight lead into the top of the stretch but the eventual winner, Blueridge Pushy and Loves You Baby all came from behind to engage in the heart stopper. Here Comes Lucy, a Scott Warnick trainee, crossed in 2:00 3/5. The Allie's Western filly now has seven "in the money" finishes from just eight starts. Trainer Frank Gannon's Riggy wired the field in 1:57 2/5 in an uneventful colt & gelding pace. The Riggins colt tripped the timer in :29 3/5, :59 2/5 and 1:29 2/5 before crossing 4 Â½ lengths ahead of Bossman Mike. Riggy is owned by Leonard Hubbard and was driven by Frank Milby. A neck came into play in the filly trot prep as Elma Lou squeaked out a close win over Kiss My Cart in a three horse field. Renegade Marie went off stride coming out of the turn so a match race played out in the final quarter between the remaining pair. The neck victor, a Cantab Hall filly, finished in 2:07 4/5. Wilbur Eden dominated in the colt & gelding prep, besting a trio of other contenders in 2:01 1/5. The Federal Flex colt wired the field and hit the wire four lengths ahead of runner-up I Am Delightful. Entries will be drawn for next Sunday's "Day of Champions" card this Thursday October 23rd. by Darrell Wood, for Colonial Downs
(NEW KENT, VA.--- In a showdown of potential "Horse of the Meet" candidates, Bellator rose to the head of the class literally, capturing a blanket finish by a head margin over Hotunderthecollar in Thursday's $5,500 pacing feature at Colonial Downs. The 4 year old Rocknroll Hanover gelding entered the race with three wins in four starts at the current fall meet, all in late closer series company. Other trophy contenders included Vertigo Hanover, who had won four of five and, the consistent Rust Belt, who had two dominant wins and a pair of tight runner up finishes. Hotunderthecollar, fresh from five straight "in the money" finishes himself, set the pace early by cutting quarter fractions of :25 4/5, :53 4/5 and 1:21 4/5. Bellator came from fourth exiting the turn and passed Greybeard and Chesapeake Bay en route to a battle with Bellator in deep stretch. Corey Braden guided the winner to victory in a new life mark of 1:50 1/5 while Jeff Nisonger directed the second place finisher. Greybeard finished one-half length shy in third. Colonial Downs is dark on Friday. A ten race program will be carded Saturday beginning at 1:00 PM. by Darrell Wood, for Colonial Downs
"Racing Under Saddle" Exhibition, T-Shirt Giveaway & Driver's Bicycle Race Highlight "Back to the Track" Promotion Sunday October 5 at Colonial Downs. (NEW KENT, VA --- 9/30/14) ---- Colonial Downs will host a "Back to the Track" promotion Sunday October 5th that features a "racing under saddle" exhibition race, t-shirt giveaway, harness driver's bicycle race, and bingo games that are based on race results. Member tracks of the United States Trotting Association (USTA) each are holding a "Back to the Track" event in 2014 and Colonial Downs has a list of events Sunday geared to fans of all ages. The first ever "racing under saddle" exhibition race at Colonial will be a non-betting event but will offer $3,000 in prize money. This is a hybrid of harness and thoroughbred racing that is popular in Europe. A field of five female harness trainers will sit atop their respective trotters instead of in the sulky, and will compete 1 ¼ miles around Colonial's entire oval, encountering both turns over the country's largest harness track. This exhibition will be held after the third harness race at approximately 1:45 PM. Six of Colonial's harness drivers will sit on top of two wheels in another non-betting competition later in the card, but their hardware features handlebars and pedals versus the shafts and aerodynamic aspects of a sulky. The first ever Agee's bicycle race will be contested at the distance of one-quarter mile after the seventh harness race, and the bikes will be given away via prize drawings as soon as the race is over. All fans will receive a free harness racing bingo card on Sunday and compete for $500 in prize money. Winning spaces on the bingo cards will be determined by race results, and the first five participants to complete an "X" on their card will win $100 each. The first 400 adults will also receive a free "Back to the Track" t-shirt and after each race, the winning driver will give distribute children's tees via a t-shirt toss. Other events include drawings for unique rides in the starter's car and winner's circle presentations, live music with the York River Concert Band, magic and juggling courtesy of Jonathan Austin, and a kids foot race on the track after the last harness race. Colonial Downs offers a Sunday $18 Family 'n Friends 4-Pack special, where four attendees can get admission, programs, tip sheets, hot dogs and soft drinks for $18 when they present a 4-Pack coupon which is available at colonialdowns.com. Gates open at 12:30 PM and racing starts at 1:00 PM. Darrell Wood
HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Studio City needed every step of the mile to run down the front running Lutetium in the $10,500 Open Trot at Buffalo Raceway Friday night (Feb. 7). Lutetium (Kevin Cummings) set the fractions with marks of 29.1, 1:00 and 1:31 and tried desperately to make every step a winning one. He was close but no cigar. Studio City and Buffalo Raceway's leading driver Billy Dobson had other ideas. Starting a first over trip down the backstretch the final time, Studio City ($7.10) began a slow but methodical grind in chasing down Lutetium. Then in the shadow of the wire, he managed to poke a head in front to capture the win in 2:01.2 over the good track. Cedarridgetag (Peter Wrenn) took the show position. It was the first victory in four starts for Studio City this season. He has now earned $9,135 in 2014 and $133,868 lifetime. The 5-year-old gelding is owned by Scott Woogen and Lisa Denison and is trained by Lisa Lederhouse. Racing will resume on Saturday night with a 12-race card scheduled to start at 6:40 p.m. For more information including race replays, results, upcoming promotions and the latest news, go to www.buffaloraceway.com by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway
(NEW KENT, VA --- 10/6/13) ---- With a temperature of 90 degrees and feature races carded at 1 ¼ miles, the prospect of seeing thoroughbreds compete over the Colonial Downs turf course Sunday afternoon seemed like a possibility, but it was pacers and trotters that battled in a pair of long distance series finales over the New Kent dirt oval. The final legs of the Good Ole USA $8,300 Trot and $8,900 Pace were contested in back to back races. Pro Deuce swept the pace by scoring a tight win over Sigh Of Relief and Charlie B in a blanket finish while Rockin To Do edged Elvis Returns by one half length in the trotting feature. Trainer/driver Jason Thompson's Pro Deuce scored a first leg division win in 1:53.0 then wired the field in the sole second leg division at a 7/8ths mile distance. The 4 year old Pro Bono Best gelding took advantage of a perfect pocket trip in the final to nip pacesetter Charlie B and fast closing Sigh Of Relief in 2:26.0. Thompson's only three drives at the Colonial fall meet have been aboard Pro Deuce and all have been wins. Stacy McLenaghan's Rockin To Do earned a first leg division win in a lifetime best 1:55 3/5 but went offstride in the following leg and finished ninth in a ten horse field. Jason Mac Dougall took over in the sulky Sunday and guided the 8 year old Glory B River gelding to a come from behind win in 2:29 2/5. After Taste of Paradise set the first four fractions, Rockin To Do came to the far outside at the head of the stretch and passed Apparition and the front stepper en route to his 26th lifetime win. Colonial Downs returns to action Wednesday with an 11 race card beginning at 1 PM. by Darrell Wood for Colonial Downs
The Virginia Racing Commission awarded 2013 harness racing dates to Colonial Downs yesterday (Nov. 7) at its monthly meeting.
Amanda Jackson's Hillbilly Desire and Tye Loy's Blueridge Dancer scored wins Sunday (October 14) in their respective Virginia-bred three year old filly and colt/gelding pacing divisions as Colonial Downs ushered out its fall meet with the $391,150 "Day of Champions" harness racing card.
Colonial Downs will wrap up its 15th season of pari-mutuel harness racing this Sunday October 14th with the $390,125 "Day of Champions" card.
Wayne Long's Hearts N Flowers scored a convincing wire-to-wire harness racing victory in Wednesday's (October 10) featured filly and mare pacing feature at Colonial Downs as closing week festivities kicked off. Hearts N Flowers, who had been racing primarily in New York Sire Stakes company, came into Virginia with a sophomore year bankroll of over $67,000.
Eloise Eden wired the field and scored a convincing six and a half length win in Saturday's $5,000 Virginia-bred 2 Year Old Filly Trot, which served as a prep for next Sunday's $50,000 (est.) finale at Colonial Downs.