"Sure, it didn't really prove who's the best," says Filion, "but let's put it this way. I may not be the best in the world, but I'm as good as the next guy—and I don't care who he is."
Not even his bitterest rival can begrudge Filion the praise he has earned in the handling of Marlu Pride. As a 2-year-old the colt won only three of 14 starts. And he was not impressing anyone this spring until Owner Portanova turned him over to Filion. "I saw that Herve was the top driver in the country, and I wanted the best, not some mediocre guy," says Portanova. One of Filion's brothers drove Marlu in his first start in May, and the colt was so upset by the raceway din that he broke stride twice. The next time out Filion plugged Marlu's ears with cotton and put a bright-red hood over the horse's head. The colt settled down and went about his business, winning by two lengths. Next came a 6�-length upset victory over the leading 3-year-olds in the Dexter Cup.
Now Marlu will drop out of the spotlight for a few weeks as attention centers on The Hambletonian. But the winner of that race had better beware. Postmaster Portanova did not forget to send in his entry for the $100,000 Colonial on Sept. 19 at Liberty Bell. And there, says Herve Filion, it will take a lot more than a $15 bit to keep him from proving Marlu Pride is the best 3-year-old trotter of 1970.