08/27/2016 8:30PM

Yonkers: Marion Marauder cruises in Yonkers Trot elimination

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Mike Lizzi
Marion Marauder's first race over a half-mile track proved no issue

Hambletonian champion Marion Marauder looms as a heavy favorite in next Saturday night's Yonkers Trot, the second jewel in the Trotting Triple Crown, as he was a 1:56 2/5 winner in the $40,000 elimination tonight over the half-mile oval.

Driver Scott Zeron landed in third early with Marion Marauder, but he was already out and on the move to clear Smalltownthrowdown (Dan Daley) past the 29 2/5 three-quarters.  Marion Marauder trotted comfortably around the far turn the first time, but the same couldn't be said for several of his rivals towards the back of the pack, as they made breaks in stride.

Marion Marauder was unchallenged through a half in 58 4/5 and a three-quarters in 1:28 1/5, and he would close the deal with a 28 1/5 final kicker to win by about two lengths over Smalltownthrowdown.  Iron Mine Bucky (George Dennis), Steed (Brian Sears), and Hititoutofthepark (Corey Callahan) rounded out the top five.  Also moving on to the final were Cufflink Hanover (Jason Bartlett), Celebrity Express (John Campbell), and Lagerfeld (Mark MacDonald), while Gleaming Memory (Ake Svanstedt) was the horse eliminated.

"We just wanted to see that he could get off the gate clean and command a race on a half-mile track.  That's always very important," said Mike Keeling, the husband of winning trainer Paula Wellwood.  "I think he showed everybody that he can do that.  He steered great and he trotted well.  We're just pleased."

Wellwood trains Marion Marauder, a Muscle Hill colt, for her mother Jean Wellwood and son Devin Keeling.  Marion Marauder posted his eighth career victory, and he has now earned $1,156,891.  The 1-5 favorite, he paid $2.60 to win.