Marion Marauder

Race Summary

The Wellwood family finally tasted Hambletonian glory as Marion Marauder captured the $1 million trotting classic on Saturday afternoon at the Meadowlands.
Rising star Scott Zeron delivered a confident drive, becoming the eighth reinsman to take the Hambo in their first try.
On a day threatened by severe weather, it was all blue skies in the winner’s circle for the jubilant connections as Marion Marauder followed his elimination win with a thrilling victory by a nose over Southwind Frank, last season’s divisional champion.
Team Wellwood, starting with the late Hall of Famer Bill Wellwood, had chased this dream for a long time.  This was their 10th try for the trophy.
His daughter Paula trained the colt to his sixth win in seven starts this season. With the victory in the world’s most famous harness race, Paula Wellwood joined Linda Toscano as the only women to train a Hambletonian champion.
The race unfolded with Sutton firing out hard to take the early lead. Southwind Frank came calling down the backstretch to take control, before yielding to Bar Hopping, winner of the other elimination.
That left Marion Marauder with a demanding a first-over trip. Zeron skillfully sent Marion Marauder after the leader.
And his colt was game, right to the wire.
Bar Hopping weakened in deep stretch but there was one more challenge awaiting as Southwind Frank came firing through an opening along the pylons.
The colts hit the wire together, leaving Paula Wellwood in shock and speechless.
“It was so close,” she said. “I was watching in the paddock. I knew where he was, I knew he came first up and had taken over the lead. Everybody was saying it was too close to call.”
And then came the magic moment: Marion Marauder’s number was first on the tote board.
“He hung tough to win by a nose,” Zeron said. “It was amazing. They (the Wellwoods) have trained trotters their whole lives. Everything leads up to this point. The pressure is all on the Hambletonian, and the horse delivered. I can’t believe it.”
There was a judge’s inquiry as Southwind Frank skipped off-stride past the wire. There was no change in the order of finish.
Sutton was third followed by Waitlifter K, Bar Hopping, Milligan’s School, Lagerfeld, Iron Mine Bucky, The Royal Harry and Maven’s Way.
Marion Marauder paid $7 to win as the 5-2 third choice. The winning time was 1:51.4.
Marion Marauder,  a son of 2009 Hambletonian winner Muscle Hill, earned $500,000 in the final for the team of Marion Wellwood, Bill’s widow, and Devin Keeling, Paula’s son.
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