Marion Marauder Takes Thrilling Hambletonian
Aug 6

The 91st edition of the Hambletonian turned into one of the most exciting ever as Marion Marauder and Southwind Frank battled stride-for-stride to the wire, with Marion Marauder winning the $1 million classic for 3-year-old trotters by the slimmest of margins in 1:51.4.

Sutton (Andy Miller) was away fastest in the final, but Southwind Frank (Yannick Gingras) moved up to his outside to gain the lead at the :28.1 opening quarter. Elimination winner Bar Hopping (Tim Tetrick) was hot on Southwind Frank's heels, and Bar Hopping would make his way to the top before the :56 half.

Marion Marauder (Scott Zeron) had gotten away fifth, and then he came first-over past the half. He would advance steadily on the rim, and was in striking distance of Bar Hopping as they trotted through three-quarters in 1:24.2.

In the stretch Marion Marauder overtook Bar Hopping, but Southwind Frank came on to the inside, and they would match strides all the way to the wire. It was Marion Marauder's day, though, and he would get the slim decision in the photo. Sutton also had good late trot to get up for third, followed by Waitlifter K (Matt Kakaley) and Bar Hopping.

"I tried to get the jump on everybody," said Zeron, who capped off his first driving title at the Meadowlands in style. " My horse was strong coming first-up, and I wanted to get a good two or three length cushion on the field, but I know my horse better. I should have waited and waited to pull the trigger just because when he gets clear of them sometimes he'll wander. He was just not paying attention, but he stuck his nose out and got there."

Paula Wellwood trains the victorious Muscle Hill colt for her mother Jean Wellwood and son Devin Keeling. Marion Marauder is now six-for-seven in the win column this season, and this was his seventh career victory. He has earned $761,929 in 2016 and $1,112,263 lifetime.

Marion Marauder - Lisa Photo

"I was just cheering him on. I thought it was too close to call at the finish line," said Paula Wellwood. "It was so tight. It was a great race, and Southwind Frank deserves lot of credit."


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