by Frank Drucker
cover photo by Mike Lizzi
Hambletonian winner Marion Marauder made short work of his small-track debut, winning Saturday night’s lone $40,000 elimination for the 62nd Yonkers Trot.
|Mike Lizzi photo|
|Marion Marauder trots around the Yonkers oval with a minimal amount of pressure to capture his elimination for the $500,000 Yonkers Trot.|
“Marion,” starting from post position three in a Yonkers Raceway game of musical chairs (nine to eliminate one), took things in his own hooves early. The 3-10 choice moved past first leader Smalltownthrowdown with Dan Daley, then had few issues.
The margin was a 1-1/4 lengths over “Smalltown,” with Iron Mine Bucky with George Dennis a drifting, three-hole third.
The real fun came in the back of the bus, when the second-tier Gleaming Memory with Ake Svanstedt made an ugly break that directly wiped out Lagerfeld with Mark MacDonald, while any number of the trailers also broke, were impeded or were just plain outrun.
Steed with Brian Sears was a best-of-the-rest fourth, with Hititoutofthepark with Corey Callahan, Cuffllink Hanover with Jason Bartlett, Celebrity Express with John Campbell and Lagerfeld also earning berths into this Saturday’s $500,000 final. The open draw for the second jewel of Trotting Triple Crown is Tuesday morning.
For Marion Marauder, a 3-year-old son of Muscle Hill trained by Paula Wellwood, who kept in the family for co-owners Marion Wellwood and Devin Keeling, it was his seventh win in nine seasonal starts. The exacta paid $7.80, with the triple returning $22.60.
“I couldn’t have been more pleased with the way he trotted the half tonight,” Zeron said. “I’m confident in his abilities to get the job done in the final.”
“We just wanted him to get off the gate clean and command a race on a half-mile,” Mike Keeling, husband of the winning trainer, said. “I think he showed everybody that he can do that. He steered great and he trotted well.”
Saturday’s card also featured a pair of events for 3-year-old fillies, the $118,574 Hudson Trot and $109,050 Lady Maud Pace.