Marion Marauder Wins Hambletonian

Published: August 6, 2016 05:19 pm EDT

In a thrilling finish, Marion Marauder nosed out Southwind Frank to win the 91st Hambletonian for driver Scott Zeron, trainer Paula Wellwood and owners (Marion) Jean Wellwood and Devin Keeling of Ontario.

After drawing to the outside of fellow elimination winner Bar Hopping and winterbook favourite Southwind Frank, Marion Marauder was the third choice by the betting public. Scott Zeron drove him confidently, settling into fifth early as Sutton (Andy Miller) left with purpose and grabbed the front. Southwind Frank (Yannick Gingras) was out and driving to challenge for position, and managed to be on top through a tepid :28.2 opening quarter.

Favoured Bar Hopping (Tim Tetrick) wanted front-end control, out and driving on since the outset. That duo cleared to the lead just before the :56 half. Marion Marauder was still in fifth at this point, with no one challenging the leaders.

Zeron changed that by starting his first-over challenge, grinding up on the outside to apply pressure to the pacesetter. Waitlifter K (Matt Kakaley) was on his back as the elim winners traded punches through a 1:24.2 third panel leading into a serious early stretch battle.

As Marion Marauder appeared to have put away Bar Hopping, Southwind Frank ducked to the inside while Waitlifter K and Sutton angled to the outside. Marion Marauder stayed strong through the stretch and got his nose on the wire first ahead of Southwind Frank, a neck back, with Sutton closing impressively to nab show. Waitlifter K and Bar Hopping completed the top five. The time of the mile was 1:51.4.

The Hambletonian win was the first for driver Scott Zeron, who was making his Hambletonian debut. The win capped off a stellar meet in which in the Canadian native also won his first Meadowlands driving title.

"I can't believe it," said Scott Zeron after winning his first Hambo. "I tried to get the jump on everybody, my horse was strong coming first up and I wanted to get a good two, 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 and he was just not paying attention but he stuck his nose out and he got there.

"I want to thank Paula Wellwood and Mike Keeling for bringing me and [letting me] drive this horse full-time. Not many would give a young guy a chance to drive a Hambletonian trotter and it's amazing."

Owned by (Marion) Jean Wellwood of Stratford, Ont. and her grandson Devin Keeling of Cambridge, Ont., Marion Marauder gives the Wellwood family a long-awaited Hambletonian win. Family patriach Bill Wellwood, a trainer of trotters for decades, had his sights on harness racing's holy grail for many years but was never victorious.

"He tried to win this race many times," said Jean, who felt Bill was watching over them for this race.

The husband and wife team of Paula Wellwood and Mike Keeling handle the training on Marion Marauder, giving them their first Hambletonian winner.

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

"We're just so thrilled," said Mike Keeling, who told Trot Insider earlier in the week that he wasn't intimidated by anyone in the race. "It's a lifelong dream for everybody."

Bred by William Mulligan of New Hope, Penn., Marion Marauder (Muscle Hill - Spellbound Hanover) now boasts a lifetime bankroll in excess of $1.1 million, largely by the virtue of his strong 6-for-7 record as a three-year-old. He nearly doubled his lifetime bankroll with his Hambletonian elim and final purse winnings.

The Hambletonian was the main event on a stakes-loaded card to conclude the Meadowlands' meet. For the results, recaps and replays from the Hambletonian undercard, click the following link: 2016 Hambletonian Day Undercard.



Congratulations to all the connections on winning the Hambo. When Scott first started driving at WEG it was obvious he was going to be a top driver quickly. He wanted to have a chance to better his chances of winning the big races like the Hambo, NA cup and the M'lands Pace so he correctly shifted his driving base to the States which was Ontario's loss. On the bright side his biggest win to date comes on a horse with Ontario connections.

We both want to send our congratulations to Jean, Paul, Michael and Devon. All of the racing community will be so pleased and happy for you.
Mary Jane & John Findley.

Congratulations to Marion Marauder, the Wellwood/Keeling family and driver Scott Zeron on an amazing win. Great to see all the Canadian connections winning this prestigious race. Am sure there was lots of encouragement from above.

Secret Weapon Stables and Wayne R. Prezscator

I recall being in the backstretch in Delaware with Paul Mac & Woody when Village Connection got beat by Nick's Fantasy, & Bill said "Where the Hell did that thing come from?" He was so sure he was going to win that day, but this would have been better. Many congrats to Jean, Paula, Mike & all involved; very special accomplishment.

Our congratulations to the entire Wellwood family and all of Marion Marauder's connections on a job extremely well done. The choice of the young and very talented Scott Zeron was indeed a wise one; he drove the horse to perfection. This has to be a proud day for Canadians to see some of our own reach the highest pinnacle of harness racing.
I also think there may have been another force at work as well, only he was watching from above.
Robert and Linda Smith

what a moment..

Watched every second of the meadowlands show sat aft...what an amazing afternoon Scott Z. had...

Heard Scott interviewed...hes grown into a fine young man...and anybody who watches what he does at all these us tracks night in night out, day in day out know what kind of talent he has.

To Scott, I raise a glass. What a show


Congratulations Jean, Paula, Mike and Devin, what a race, what a win. Trained and managed to perfection in the Wellwood tradition.

Gay and Brian Webster

Congrats to Mrs. Wellwood, Paula, Mike and Devin and the Zeron family! Great class act people! Colt broke and trained in Pinehurst, NC !

Great to see a smaller stable and Canadian content all around win this prestigious race. Scott Zeron certainly paid attention growing up in the industry as he is one of the coolest and best drivers in the sport today, and only 27. Too bad Ontario racing couldn't hold on to him. A great ambassador for the sport for sure.

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