By Lou Monaco, for the Hambletonian Society
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – It was a big-time performance by the defending Trotter of the Year.
Driven by Scott Zeron, 1-5 favorite Marion Marauder chased down Cufflink Hanover by a head in 2:05.2 for the mile-and-an-eighth distance to capture the $458,750 Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters at the Meadowlands Saturday night, and in doing so, became the first horse in the fourth edition of the series to complete the Hambo-Hambo Maturity sweep.
Zeron waited for his moment to go first over just after the three-quarter mile mark and powered his way to the finish line, outlasting Cufflink Hanover. Warrawee Roo finished third with Dayson fourth.
“He’s a grinder, I’m not worried about him getting weak at the end, that’s for sure,” said Zeron. “The way it unfolds, a mile and an eighth, a lot of people can do different things out there. Right now, he’s at the best part of his game. It’s hard to believe after the year he had last year. I don’t mind coming first up, he loves looking at them, just going right on by them. This year, he’s matured to pull away. (His desire to race) is even more as a 4-year-old. It makes my life so much easier.”
Marion Marauder paid $2.60, $2.20 and $2.10. Cufflink Hanover, with Corey Callahan driving, paid $7.40 and $4.60 to place with Warrawee Roo (Daniel Dube) paying $3.60 to show.
It was the son of Muscle Hill’s third win in four starts this season. He’s won 14 of 32 lifetime and has earned over $2 million for owners Marion Jean Wellwood and Devin Keeling.
Last year, Marion Marauder swept the Triple Crown – the Hambletonian, Yonkers Trot and Kentucky Futurity – on his way to being named Trotter of the Year.