09/10/2016 7:55PM

Mohawk: Marion Marauder, Bar Hopping take Canadian Trotting Classic eliminations

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Marion Marauder won his Canadian Trotting Classic elimination with ease

All eyes were on Marion Marauder and Southwind Frank coming into Saturday night's pair of C$40,000 Canadian Trotting Classic eliminations for 3-year-old colt trotters at Mohawk, and while Marion Marauder got the job done, Southwind Frank was upset by Bar Hopping.

Marion Marauder competed in the first elimination, and he swept from third to first on the way to the 55 4/5 half.  He was then confronted by a first-over Waitlifter K (Yannick Gingras) at the 1:24 1/5 three-quarters, but Marion Marauder easily dispatched that bid, then opened up confidently through the stretch to win by four lengths in 1:52.  Winter Harbor (Jody Jamieson), who was seventh and last at the half, rallied to get second, and Tony Soprano (John Campbell) finished third.  Also advancing to the final were Waitlifter K and Brooklyn Hill (Corey Callahan).

"He's an amazing animal," Zeron said.  "Hats off to Mike (Keeling) and (trainer Paula Wellwood) for keeping him this well-conditioned throughout the schedule he's had this year.  To put up performances like this week in and week out, it's amazing."

Wellwood trains Marion Marauder, a Muscle Hill colt, for owners Jean Wellwood, her mother, and Devin Keeling, her son.  Marion Marauder is now a 10-time winner in his career, and he has pocketed C1,527,263.  The 1-5 favorite, he paid $2.40 to win.

"He had a short week for him, and coming off a half we didn't know how he was going to be, but he was just tremendous," Keeling offered.  "I couldn't believe his start tonight.  He was great."

In the other elimination, Bee In Charge (Chris Christoforou) led at the 27 1/5 first quarter, but Southwind Frank was moved out of third by Gingras, and he became the new leader before the 55 3/5 half.  Southwind Frank was still in charge at the 1:24 1/5 three-quarters, but Bar Hopping (Tim Tetrick) had moved first-over out of third, and Christoforou vacated the pocket with his charge as well.

Bar Hopping would surge into the lead with an eighth of a mile to go, and from there he pulled clear to defeat Southwind Frank by 2 1/4 lengths in 1:52 4/5.  Bee In Charge was third, right next to Southwind Frank, and he was followed by Warrawee Roo (Sylvain Filion) and Dia Monde (Randy Waples).

"He responded really well, and I felt confident," Tetrick said.  "My horse was still trotting real easy and had plenty of trot left.  He's maybe a step below some of the top ones, but if they stub their toe he can run right by them.  We haven't seen the best of Bar Hopping yet."

Bar Hopping, a colt by Muscle Hill, is trained by Jimmy Takter for owners Christina Takter, Hatfield Stables, Al Libfeld, and Marvin Katz.  This was Bar Hopping's fifth victory from 17 career starts, and he has now earned C$557,548.  Sent off at 4-1, Bar Hopping returned $10.00 to win.

This is how the field will line up for next Saturday night's C$687,000 final:

1. Southwind Frank

2. Waitlifter K

3. Bar Hopping

4. Marion Marauder

5. Tony Soprano

6. Dia Monde

7. Winter Harbor

8. Brooklyn Hill

9. Bee In Charge

10. Warrawee Roo

AE: Will Take Charge