by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager
New York, NY — Marion Marauder, who finished second in last year’s $1 million Yonkers International Trot, is the 3-1 morning-line favorite in Saturday’s (Oct. 13) 40th edition of the invitational, which will be raced at 1-1/4 miles at Empire City Casino’s Yonkers Raceway. The 5-year-old stallion, representing Canada, was made the top choice after getting post No. 1 on Tuesday at 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 finished no worse than second in any start. He heads to the International Trot off a win in the Caesars Trotting Classic on Sept. 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 $3.08 million for owners Jean Wellwood and Devin Keeling. He was the 2016 Trotter of the Year after winning the Trotting Triple Crown and captured another Dan Patch Award in 2017 as best older male trotter.
Marion Marauder has enjoyed success at Yonkers, with three wins and two seconds in 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 three 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 2 and 3, the 4-year-old Ariana G has won five of 11 races this year and heads to the International Trot off a win over male rivals in the Dayton Trotting Derby on Sept. 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 $2.36 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 good 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 seven and is 6-1. The Jeff Gillis-trained 5-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 $848,116.
Elitloppet winner Ringostarr Treb, one of two horses representing Italy, leads the international contingent. The 8-year-old stallion is trained by New England native Jerry Riordan, who conditioned last year’s International Trot champion Twister Bi. Ringostarr Treb, who has won 30 of 86 career races and $1.57 million, will start from post four with driver Wilhelm “Wim” Paal and is 4-1. The stallion 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 two and is 10-1 with top Yonkers driver Jason Bartlett in the sulky for trainer Antoine Lherete. The 10-year-old stallion, 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 nine in the second tier and is 10-1 with owner Goran Antonsen set to drive. The 8-year-old stallion, 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 begins at 1 p.m. Saturday. The International Trot is race No. 8 on the card and scheduled for 3:40 p.m.
Following is the field in post-position order for the $1 million Yonkers International Trot.
1-Marion Marauder-Scott Zeron-Paula Wellwood-3/1
2-Up And Quick-Jason Bartlett-Antoine Lherete-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 www.internationaltrot.com.
- Post positions drawn for Yonkers’ $250,000 Harvey, Rooney Invitationals (Monday, October 08, 2018)
Post positions have been drawn for Saturday afternoon’s (Oct. 13) pair of Yonkers Raceway $250,000 Invitationals, the Harry Harvey Trot and Dan Rooney Pace.
- Yonkers International Trot leads this week’s Grand Circuit action (Wednesday, October 10, 2018)
This week’s marquee event on the Grand Circuit is the $1 million Yonkers International Trot at Empire City Casino, which will be held on Saturday (Oct. 13) at Yonkers Raceway. A field of 10 top trotters will head to the gate in the Yonkers International.
- ‘This is what makes life’ (Wednesday, October 10, 2018)
It’s been six years since Wim Paal competed in the U.S. and his return will not go unnoticed. Paal, a 58-year-old native of Germany, is back to drive European standout Ringostarr Treb in Saturday’s $1 million Yonkers International Trot at Empire City Casino’s Yonkers Raceway.
- Takter seeks International Trot victory with Ariana G (Wednesday, October 10, 2018)
Jimmy Takter will start Ariana G in the $1 million Yonkers International Trot. The 4-year-old mare will represent the United States for owners Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. One of the last of the 10 competitors to be announced, Takter accepted the invitation from Yonkers Raceway race secretary Steve Starr just after her win in the Dayton Trotting Derby Sept. 28.
- Drivers to study for International test (Thursday, October 11, 2018)
North American drivers participating in Saturday’s (Oct. 13) $1 million Yonkers International Trot face several challenges as they prepare for the event, most notably learning about their rivals — and in some cases their own horse — in addition to contemplating the best path to victory in a 10-horse field going 1-1/4 miles.
- Owners aim high with ‘underdog’ Slide So Easy (Friday, October 12, 2018)
No matter the outcome for Denmark’s Slide So Easy in Saturday’s (Oct. 13) $1 million Yonkers International Trot, owners Soren Christensen and Thomas Clemmensen are going to enjoy the experience of participating in the event. Christensen readily admits his 9-year-old gelding is the race’s underdog, but is hoping for a strong effort and a little luck.
- Grazing in the grass before $1 million International Trot (Friday, October 12, 2018)
Yonkers Raceway does not have a turf course — the last anyone checked — but that didn’t stop some of the participants for Saturday afternoon’s (Oct. 13) $1 million Yonkers International Trot at Empire City Casino.