marion marauder brings family first hambletonian win
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — After three decades of trying, the Wellwood family finally won the Hambletonian.
Marion Marauder held off Southwind Frank at the wire Saturday to capture the $1 million Hambletonian at the Meadowlands and make Paula Wellwood the second female trainer to win trotting's biggest race.
It wasn't only a win for Paula Wellwood. Her mother, Marion, and Paula's son, Devin, own the son of Muscle Hill. Her father, late Hall of Famer Bill Wellwood, tried nine times to win this race for 3-year-olds, racing in the first Hambletonian at the Meadowlands in 1981.
"It means the world," Paula Wellwood said of winning. "It was my father's dream, and it's been my mother and my dream. We have tried. This is our third horse in it. Had some luck. Thought we had some luck with Laddie in finishing third to Donato Hanover (2007). We were excited beyond excited. Then this horse came along. You dare to dream."
Meadowlands leading driver Scott Zeron gave Marion Marauder a perfect trip in winning by a nose over last year's 2-year-old champion and the prerace favorite.
Zeron moved Marion Marauder past Bar Hopping, the first elimination winner, at the top of the stretch and appeared to be in command until Yannick Gingras moved Southwind Frank along the inside and just missed for the second straight year.
Gingras finished second with Mission Brief in 2014.
"I can't believe it," said Zeron, 27, the second-youngest driver to win the Hambletonian.
Georgia ties quarterback pick for opener to health of running backs
Georgia offensive coordinator Jim Chaney says the health of the Bulldogs' top running backs could help decide who opens the season as the starting quarterback.
Star tailback Nick Chubb ran with the first-team offense as he continues his recovery from left knee surgery midway through the 2015 season. Chubb has been practicing with no restrictions, but Georgia has not been tackling to the ground.
Sony Michel, who replaced Chubb as the starter, is recovering from a broken left forearm he suffered in an offseason ATV accident. He is wearing a cast on the forearm and has not been cleared for contact.
Among the options at tailback are freshmen Elijah Holyfield, Brian Herrien and Tae Crowder, and senior Brendan Douglas.
At quarterback, returning starter Greyson Lambert has been sharing snaps with freshman Jacob Eason and junior Brice Ramsey.
Georgia coaches might be less inclined to give Eason his first start in Georgia's opener against North Carolina on Sept. 3 if Chubb and Michel are not cleared to play.
"I think you'd be a fool if you didn't consider that a little bit early on," Chaney said.
Notre Dame: About the only thing coach Brian Kelly could say for certain about the quarterback position as practiced opened was he didn't expect DeShone Kizer and Malik Zaire to play at the same time. "I have not taken anything off the table, honestly," Kelly said. "If you go down the roster … and look at the playmakers on offense, two of them are on the quarterback side. So I have to look at all of those, and factor every one of those in." Kelly, entering his seventh season as coach, said he didn't have a timetable for picking a starter before the Sept. 4 opener at Texas.
soccer: Liverpool thrashed Barcelona 4-0 in an International Champions Cup friendly at Wembley Stadium providing a boost for manager Juergen Klopp as he focuses on domestic success in his first full season in charge. With little at stake for either side, Liverpool dominated against a Barcelona team containing Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, who was facing his former club for the first time. … Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel signed a new five-year contract with the Premier League champions. Schmeichel played in all Leicester's league games last season and had 15 shutouts.
tennis: Three-time defending champion John Isner won the tallest matchup in ATP Tour history, beating wild card Reilly Opelka 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 6-2 in the Atlanta Open semifinals. The 6-foot-10 Isner, the top seed, had 22 aces and never faced a break point against the 6-foot-11 Opelka, the 18-year-old American who replaced Isner as the tour's tallest player. Isner faces second-seeded Nick Kyrgios, who beat unseeded Yoshihito Nishioka 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.