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.