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 and make Paula Wellwood the second female trainer to win trotting’s biggest race at the Meadowlands.

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, the 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’s 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.”

The dream came true because 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 pre-race 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.