08/03/2017 10:17PM

Meadowlands: Marion Marauder, Hannelore Hanover headline older trotting stakes

Lisa Photo
Marion Marauder has won 3 of 4 starts in 2017.

It might be Hambletonian weekend, but a fair share of attention will be on the older horses.

Marion Marauder and Hannelore Hanover, arguably the top two trotters in North America this year, will head behind the gate in the $303,050 John Cashman Memorial and the $176,250 Dr. John R. Steele Memorial, respectively, to be contested at the Meadowlands Racetrack on Saturday.

Many eyes will be on Marion Marauder, the winner of last year’s Hambletonian.  As a 4-year-old, Marion Marauder will be racing in a field of more experienced horses, although his driver Scott Zeron said these conditions will be good for the horse. “It’s not hard,” said Zeron.  “It’s definitely not easier. This will be his first time racing against open company. I think still it’s a great place, Meadowlands being a track that he loves.”

Some of the more experienced horses in the Cashman field include Crazy Wow and JL Cruze.

JL Cruze won last Friday’s Spirit of Massachusetts Trot at Plainridge Park against many of the horses he’ll be facing Saturday. The fastest horse in Meadowlands history by virtue of his 1:49 4/5 clocking in 2015, scored in Massachusetts at odds of 60-1.

“He was really, really sharp. He was eager. He was ready to pounce on somebody. He was just a different horse,” said JL Cruze’s trainer Eric Ell following the race.

One of the horses that JL Cruze beat last week is Hannelore Hanover, who is actually the 7-5 morning-line favorite in Saturday’s Steele Memorial.

Hannelore Hanover will be competing against mares in the Steele, despite her experience racing against male counterparts in the past.  Her trainer Ron Burke said her experiences competing in faster races helps set her apart from the field.

“A lot of the mares have gotten better,” said Burke.  “They are going faster and faster and that’s going to lead to it being a very fast time, but right now she’s the king of the hill when it comes to the girls.  I think she could trot (1):49 and a piece if she had to. So if someone is ready to go sub (1):50, she’s ready to go with them.”

Burke also trains Crazy Wow, who will race in the Cashman out of the post position seven and said the draw will benefit his horse. “I want him to be forwardly placed,” said Burke.  “So with the seven-hole he can get out of there and get near the front.”

Marion Marauder is the morning-line favorite in the Cashman at odds of 5-2, followed by Resolve at 4-1. Crazy Wow is next at 5-1.

Allison Palmer, a junior at Rutgers University, is writing as a part of the Clyde Hirt Journalism Workshop.