Marion Marauder, who finished second in last year’s $1 million International Trot, has been installed as the 3-1 morning line favourite for Saturday’s (Oct. 13) 40th edition of the invitational, which will be raced at the distance of one and one-quarter miles at Yonkers Raceway.
The five-year-old horse, who will be representing Canada, was made the top choice after having drawn Post 1 on Tuesday (Oct. 9) during the event’s draw and press conference at Manhattan’s 21 Club.
Scott Zeron will drive Marion Marauder for trainer Paula Wellwood. Marion Marauder has won six of 10 races this year and has finished no worse than second in any of his seasonal starts. He heads to the International Trot off of a win in the Caesars Trotting Classic on September 21 at Hoosier Park. Other victories in 2018 include the John Cashman Memorial and Cleveland Trotting Classic. He was second in the Maple Leaf Trot and Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational.
“It beats the heck out of the seven or eight hole, that’s for sure,” said Mike Keeling – who shares the training duties on Marion Marauder with his wife, Paula Wellwood – about drawing the rail. “At least we won’t be parked.
“He loves three weeks between races and this works out perfectly from his last start. I think he’s probably a touch better than he was for the Hoosier race. We’re really pleased with him right now. As long as he’s in good shape and the race sets up for him, we’ll be fine.
“I follow the Europeans a little bit. I know Lionel, I know Ringostarr Treb. The other horses I’m not so familiar with. We’ll look at the program pages. We can only do what we can do, it’s up to Scott to figure out the rest.”
For his career, Marion Marauder has won 20 of 48 races and earned $3.26 million for owners Jean Wellwood and Devin Keeling. He was named the 2016 Trotter of the Year in the United States after winning the Trotting Triple Crown. He went on to capture another Dan Patch Award in 2017 as best older male trotter south of the border.
Marion Marauder has enjoyed success at Yonkers, as he has recorded three wins and two seconds from five career starts. One of the victories came in the Yonkers Trot on his way to the Triple Crown.
Ariana G, the U.S. representative and lone mare in the field of 10, drew Post 3 and is 5-1 on the morning line. The International Trot has been won by a mare 11 times, most recently by Peace Corps in 1991. The International Trot was contested from 1959 through 1995 before being resurrected in 2015.
A Dan Patch Award divisional champion at ages two and three, the four-year-old Ariana G has won five of 11 races this year and heads to the International Trot off of a win over male rivals in the Dayton Trotting Derby on September 28. Other victories this season include the Hambletonian Maturity and Graduate Series championship. She also won her elimination for the Maple Leaf Trot and finished third in the final.
For her career, Ariana G has won 26 of 37 races and earned $2.5 million for owners Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. Yannick Gingras will drive the mare for trainer Jimmy Takter.
“You have to be happy with the draw,” said Gingras. “But I think most of the good horses got good spots, too. It will be a tactical race, but we can’t complain about where we’ll start.
“I think she’s super sharp. She raced really [well] in Ohio in her last start. Jimmy skipped Lexington pointing toward this race. I think it was a smart move, no doubt. I think she’s got as good a shot as anybody.”
Will Take Charge, a second Canadian representative as a late replacement for the Netherlands’ Dreammoko, drew Post 7 and is 6-1. The Jeff Gillis-trained five-year-old gelding, who will have Tim Tetrick in the sulky, has won nine of 21 races this year, including the Crawford Farms Open Trot and Maxie Lee Memorial, for owner Mac Nichol. For his career, he has won 21 of 71 starts and $1 million.
Elitloppet winner Ringostarr Treb, one of two horses representing Italy, leads the international contingent. The eight-year-old horse is trained by New England native Jerry Riordan, who conditioned last year’s International Trot winner, Twister Bi. Ringostarr Treb, who has won 30 of 86 career races and $1.57 million, will start from Post 4 with driver Wilhelm ‘Wim’ Paal and is 4-1. The horse is owned by E.V.A.M. Racing.
“I’m very happy about the post,” Paal said. “It keeps me a little bit out of the traffic in the first turn. I can choose my own race. I think there are four or five horses that have a good shot in this race – Marion Marauder, Up And Quick, Ariana G. For me, Lionel is a horse you should not underestimate because he shows his best at a mile-and-a-quarter and he is a classy horse.
“I think the small track gives a big opportunity to the four (inside) horses. They are all good horses and were lucky in the draw.”
Up And Quick, who won the 2015 Prix d’Amerique, drew Post 2 and is 10-1 with top Yonkers driver Jason Bartlett in the sulky for trainer Antoine Lherete. The 10-year-old horse, representing France, has won 16 of 74 career races and $2.81 million. He is owned by Ecurie Quick Star.
Lionel, representing Norway, drew Post 9 in the second tier and is 10-1 with owner Goran Antonsen set to drive. The eight-year-old horse, trained by Daniel Reden, won his Elitloppet elimination and finished fifth in the final. He has won 23 of 69 races and $1.67 million.
The remaining International Trot participants are Italy’s Arazi Boko, Sweden’s Cruzado Dela Noche and Pastore Bob, and Denmark’s Slide So Easy.
Racing will begin at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The International Trot has been carded as Race 8 on the program and is scheduled to head postward at 3:40 p.m.
The field for the $1 million Yonkers International Trot (in post position order) appears below.
1-Marion Marauder-Scott Zeron-Paula Wellwood-3/1
2-Up And Quick-Antoine Lherete-Jason Bartlett-10/1
3-Ariana G-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-5/1
4-Ringostarr Treb-Wilhelm Paal-Jerry Riordan-4/1
5-Pastore Bob-Johan Untersteiner-Johan Untersteiner-8/1
6-Cruzado Dela Noche-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander-12/1
7-Will Take Charge-Tim Tetrick-Jeff Gillis-6/1
8-Arazi Boko-Alessandro Gocciadoro-Alessandro Gocciadoro-15/1
9-Lionel-Goran Antonsen-Daniel Reden-10/1
10-Slide So Easy-Flemming Jensen-Flemming Jensen-15/1
For more information, visit internationaltrot.com.