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‘Hannelore’ aims for Maple Leaf repeat; ‘Marauder’ for home win
Friday, August 31, 2018 - by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

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Ken Weingartner
Hightstown, NJ --- Ron Burke is hoping to see a change in Hannelore Hanover for Saturday’s Maple Leaf Trot final. Mike Keeling is hoping to see no change in Marion Marauder.

Hannelore Hanover, the 2017 Horse of the Year in the U.S. and Canada, enters the C$651,000 Maple Leaf Trot for older trotters at Woodbine Mohawk Park off three consecutive third-place finishes after beginning her campaign with six straight wins. She was beaten by 2-3/4 lengths by Ariana G in her Maple Leaf Trot elimination.

A 6-year-old mare, Hannelore Hanover is one of three mares in the final, with 4-year-old Ariana G and 5-year-old Emoticon Hanover. Hannelore Hanover won last year’s Maple Leaf Trot and is trying to become the first repeat winner of the event since San Pail, who captured three consecutive trophies in 2009 through 2011.

USTA/Ken Weingartner photo
Hannelore Hanover has won 42 of 67 career races and $2.75 million.

Hannelore Hanover, who has won 42 of 67 career races and $2.75 million, will start from post seven with regular driver Yannick Gingras and is 4-1 on the morning line. She is one of only two horses returning from last year’s race. Warrawee Roo is the other.

“My horse hasn’t been good; I need a big turnaround,” said Burke, who trains Hannelore Hanover and owns the mare with the Weaver Bruscemi partnership, Frank Baldachino, and J&T Silva Stables. “We haven’t gotten a handle on it yet. She’s gone through little lulls before in her career and we’ve always figured it out. She’s a good horse. We’ll figure it out. She’ll come back around. It’s just that I want her to be back by Saturday and I don’t know yet what it’s going to be.

“Post seven doesn’t bother me. She can put herself in position, but she needs to be better. End of story.”

Marion Marauder, trained by the Canadian-based husband-and-wife team of Mike Keeling and Paula Wellwood and owned by Devin Keeling and Jean Wellwood, won his Maple Leaf Trot elimination by a length over Dancer Hall in 1:53.1. He will start the final from post three with regular driver Scott Zeron and is the 3-1 morning-line favorite.

New Image Media photo
Marion Marauder won his Maple Leaf Trot elimination by a length over Dancer Hall in 1:53.1.

“He’s having a great week,” Mike Keeling said. “He’s happy, he’s sharp, he’s healthy. The weather has been up and down, and that always scares you. We’ve had some extreme heat and now we’ve chilled right off. But we can only control what we can control and we’re really pleased with how he’s going into it.”

Following Marion Marauder’s elimination, Zeron said in the winner’s circle he let his horse “coast” to the finish.

“It was not a stressful race for him,” Keeling said, adding with a laugh, “It was probably more stressful for us to watch than it was for the horse. Scott is so relaxed with him.

“He came out of the race fantastic. When you don’t have to go to the bottom of the well just to win an elimination it certainly bodes well going into a final.”

Marion Marauder’s appearance in the elimination was the 5-year-old stallion’s first race in Canada since an eighth-place finish in last year’s Maple Leaf Trot eliminations, when he failed to advance to the final. He has competed in Canada only five times in 30 starts since winning the Goodtimes Stakes at age 3.

“He doesn’t get to perform as much at home,” Keeling said. “It means a lot to win at home. It would be kind of special to do that. This is a great race with a great history. I think only great horses have ever won it. It’s a race that means a lot historically and personally. It’s not an easy race to win. None of the top ones are, but this one seems really difficult.

“This is a really good bunch of trotters. There’s early speed, late speed, everything in there. It’s interesting for sure.”

Ariana G, a two-time Dan Patch and O’Brien awards-winner, won her Maple Leaf Trot elimination in 1:52.4 by a neck over Will Take Charge. She is one of two horses in the race for trainer Jimmy Takter, with 2015 Hambletonian winner Pinkman.

Saturday’s card at Woodbine Mohawk Park also includes the C$600,000 Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers, where New Zealand-bred sensation Lazarus is the 7-5 morning-line favorite.

Racing begins at 7:10 p.m. (EDT). The Canadian Pacing Derby is race eight, set for 9:45 p.m., and will air on TSN GO during a 9:30-10 p.m. broadcast. The Maple Leaf Trot is race 10, with a 10:35 p.m. post time.

Following is the field in post-position order for the Maple Leaf Trot. The connections of elimination winners selected their starting spots.

PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line
1-Crazy Wow-Jody Jamieson-Marcus Melander-10/1
2-Dancer Hall-Sylvain Filion-Paul Reid-5/1
3-Marion Marauder-Scott Zeron-Mike Keeling-3/1
4-Ariana G-David Miller-Jimmy Takter-9/2
5-Will Take Charge-Tim Tetrick-Jeff Gillis-7/2
6-Warrawee Roo-James MacDonald-Luc Blais-10/1
7-Hannelore Hanover-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-4/1
8-Emoticon Hanover-Bob McClure-Luc Blais-12/1
9-Guardian Angel AS-Brett Miller-Anette Lorentzon-12/1
10-Pinkman-Andy McCarthy-Jimmy Takter-20/1

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