Day At The Track

Marion Marauder set for 2018 debut

06:41 AM 19 May 2018 NZST
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Marion Marauder
For his career, Marion Marauder has won 14 of 38 races, hit the board a total of 30 times, and earned $2.53 million.
Lisa Photo

Hightstown, NJ --- Two-time Dan Patch Award-winner Marion Marauder will open his 5-year-old season Sunday (May 20) by traveling to a harness racing track he’s never visited previously, even if it is still in North America rather than Scandinavia. Marion Marauder will head to Harrah’s Philadelphia, where he meets six rivals in the Great Northeast Open Series for older trotters.

There was hope during the winter that Marion Marauder would get the opportunity to head overseas for May races in Europe, including the famed Elitlopp at Sweden’s Solvalla Raceway. The past two years, a direct flight was offered from New York to Sweden in the hopes of attracting North American horses, but the flight was discontinued this year.

“We didn’t have him a hundred percent ready, so it probably wouldn’t have worked fitness-wise for him,” said Mike Keeling, who trains Marion Marauder with his wife, Paula Wellwood. “But the real problem was logistics; without a direct flight it turns into a bit of a milk run. Early in the season, you can’t do that. You’re jeopardizing far too much.

“Maybe we can make it work someday. We’d really like to participate in it, and be competitive in it. I think everybody would like that opportunity once.”

Marion Marauder, who was the 2016 Trotter of the Year, won three of 10 races last year and earned $769,182 on his way to receiving the Dan Patch Award for the sport’s best older male trotter. His victories included the Hambletonian Maturity and Graduate Series championship and he was second in the Yonkers International Trot.

In 2016, Marion Marauder won 10 of 15 starts and became the ninth Trotting Triple Crown winner -- and first since 2006 -- by sweeping the Hambletonian, Yonkers Trot, and Kentucky Futurity.

For his career, the stallion has won 14 of 38 races, hit the board a total of 30 times, and earned $2.53 million. He is owned by Devin Keeling and Marion Jean Wellwood.

Marion Marauder heads to Philly off two wins in qualifiers. He will start Sunday from post seven with regular driver Scott Zeron and is 10-1 on the morning line. Crazy Wow, who in his most recent start on May 5 was third in the Cutler Memorial, is the 5-2 favorite.

The remainder of the field is Lagerfeld, Melady’s Monet, Fearless Man, Opulent Yankee, and Crazshana.

“He qualified great and he’s coming into the season nice and sound,” Keeling said about Marion Marauder. “We kind of got handicapped for the first start, but it will be a good test for him and that is what matters most, that he gets stretched out. If he gets himself in position he’ll be accountable. Our first start or two we’ve just got to see what Scott plans for him and go from there.

“We enjoy it (racing Marion Marauder). We know that he’s always going to give us a great effort, that’s what matters. If he shows up, he’s going to win his share.”

Harrah’s Philadelphia also hosts two divisions of the Great Northeast Open Series for older female pacers on Sunday. Blue Moon Stride is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the first division and three-time Dan Patch Award-winner Pure Country is the 5-2 choice in the second division.

Racing begins at 12:40 p.m. (EDT). For complete entries, click here.

by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

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