The time was Bar Hopping’s lifetime best. He is trained by Jimmy Takter and owned by Christina Takter, Hatfield Stables, Marin Katz and Al Libfeld.
Brooklyn Hill (David Miller) was first to the lead in :27.2, but Bar Hopping was out past that mark to challenge and grabbed the lead before hitting the half in :55.4. Milligan's School was out to challenge at the five-eighths-mile marker but could not get past the leader at the 1:24 third quarter. Bar Hopping pulled away from the field for the win. “He was super. He was even better than he was the last couple weeks,” said Tim Tetrick. “Jimmy’s good at those big days and he’s got him right where he wants him. I didn’t know (about multiple horses making breaks past the three-quarters). But when Andy (driving Milligan's School) was first up and he started growling at his, mine took right off. I wasn’t worried from there. I think he’s ready for the final.”
Marion Marauder stormed through the stretch and overtook leader Southwind Frank in the final strides to win the second of Saturday’s two eliminations for the Hambletonian. The time for the mile was 1:51.3, a lifetime best for Marion Marauder, who was sent off at odds of 3-1. Joining Marion Marauder and Southwind Frank in the $1 million final were Waitlifter K, Sutton, and The Royal Harry.
Southwind Frank, the 1-5 favorite, got the lead in a :26.4 opening quarter-mile and led through fractions of :55.1 and 1:23.2.
Scott Zeron drove Marion Marauder for trainer Paula Wellwood and owners Marion Jean Wellwood and Devin Keeling. It was the colt’s fifth win in six races this year.
“If I had a helmet cam on, it would have been pretty interesting to watch,” said Scott Zeron, competing in his first Hambletonian. “There were some people in front of me and I was hoping that things would work out a little bit differently but it didn’t and he ended up overcoming the distance we had to make up at the three-quarter pole. We were trying to mow down a horse that I thought was the best horse, I felt, to get to the final (Southwind Frank) and he did it. And he did it impressively.” All-source wagering on the Hambletonian Day program totaled $5,656,698.