04/14/2011 3:30PM

Court maneuvering leaves Amen Hallelujah's status for Vinery Madison up in air


LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Franklin Circuit Court in Kentucky issued a temporary restraining order on Thursday that will allow a horse trained by Richard Dutrow to start in the Vinery Madison Stakes at Keeneland today.

The horse, Amen Hallelujah – the 2-1 morning-line favorite – was expected to be scratched after the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission’s Licensing Review Committee denied Dutrow a racing license at a hearing on Wednesday. However, the Franklin Circuit Court’s order will allow the horse to run, according to chief state steward John Veitch.

UPDATE: Deal allows two Richard Dutrow horses to run at Keeneland

Philip J. Shepherd, the judge for the first division of the Franklin Circuit Court, wrote in a one-page ruling issued on Wednesday that Dutrow “will suffer irreparable injury if the court does not grant injunctive relief.” Shepherd also wrote that the decision by the Licensing Review Committee to deny the license “has demonstrated the existence of substantial legal questions regarding the right to due process in the license renewal process.”

The ruling, however, contains a factual error. In it, Shepherd wrote that Amen Hallelujah was entered in the Vinery Madison “over two weeks prior to the action of the commission.” In fact, the horse was entered on Tuesday.

Dick Brown, a spokesman for the commission, said that commission attorneys were seeking to overturn the temporary restraining order in the court of appeals prior to the Vinery Madison being run. The race has a post time of 4:52 p.m. Eastern.

Dutrow also entered Court Vision in the Grade 1 Maker’s Mark Mile at Keeneland on Friday. If the temporary restraining order remains in place, it is assumed that Court Vision will also be allowed to run.

The Licensing Review Committee denied Dutrow a license while citing the trainer’s long history of violations and alleged “misrepresentations” on his 2011 application. Dutrow’s annual license with the Kentucky commission had expired.

Shepherd said in his ruling that Dutrow “has also made an allegation of arbitrary and capricious action by the commission, to which [he] is entitled to a full hearing on the merits.”

Gerry Romski, Dutrow’s attorney, would not immediately comment about the order on Thursday.

KEENELAND: Watch video previews and see the Vinery Madison live