02/28/2010 1:00AM

Amen Hallelujah pulls away

Bob Coglianese
Amen Hallelujah, jockey Julien Leparoux up, wins the Grade 2 Davona Dale by 6 1/4 lengths at Gulfstream Park on Saturday.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Trainer Rick Dutrow has said all along he thought Amen Hallelujah was going to be even better on dirt than she was over any of the artificial surfaces she had raced on in her first seven career starts. And was he ever right.

Making her first start on dirt, Amen Hallelujah won a speed duel with the 6-5 Bickersons before drawing away to an easy 6 1/4-length victory over the honest-as-they-come Joanie's Catch in Saturday's at Gulfstream Park. The one-mile Davona Dale was the second Grade 2 win in as many starts this year for Amen Hallelujah, who captured the seven-furlong Santa Ynez over Santa Anita's Pro-Ride surface six weeks earlier.

Despite breaking a step slowly from post position 1, jockey Julien Leparoux was able to move Amen Hallelujah up inside Bickersons to contest a 24.49-second opening quarter and 47.54-second half-mile. Once turning for home, Amen Hallelujah quickly asserted her superiority, easily disposing of the favorite, then readily increasing her advantage to the wire.

Joanie's Catch slipped along the rail to finish second for the third time in a graded stakes here this winter and for the sixth time in her last seven starts, all stakes. Mambo Fever finished another head further back in third, with Bickersons a tiring and disappointing fourth.

Amen Hallelujah ran a mile in 1:37.16 over a fast track and paid $6.00

"I brought her back here from California just to run in this race," said Dutrow. "I always thought she'd be better on dirt. She trains better on dirt than the synthetic."

Leparoux, who was beaten aboard the favored Justwhistledixie in the Sabin, said Amen Hallelujah went well over the track.

"It was a little tough to be down on the inside today, and I wanted to be a little closer in this race than I was with the filly in the last," Leparoux said referring to Justwhistledixie.