04/14/2011 5:41PM

Keeneland: Vinery Madison first Grade 1 win for trainer C.R. Trout

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Keeneland/Coady Photography
Shotgun Gulch (No. 5) gets up to beat Amen Hallelujah by a head in the Vinery Madison.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Shotgun Gulch posted an 11-1 upset Thursday in the Grade 1, $300,000 Vinery Madison at Keeneland when edging Amen Hallelujah, a filly whose eligibility for the race had become a source of controversy.
With Garrett Gomez riding for breeder-owner-trainer C.R. Trout, Shotgun Gulch surged past favored Amen Hallelujah in the final yards of the seven-furlong Madison to prevail by a head. Dr. Zic, the defending champion and pacesetter to the eighth pole, held third, another 2 3/4 lengths before Evening Jewel in a field of nine fillies and mares.

Shotgun Gulch, a 4-year-old Oklahoma-bred filly by Thunder Gulch, returned $25.40 after finishing in 1:24.14 over Polytrack. The win was the first in a Grade 1 for Trout, a licensed trainer since 1991.

“It’s been a team effort to get this filly here,” said a jubilant Trout. “She performed today.”

Down the stretch, Amen Hallelujah, the 2-1 choice under John Velazquez, was deftly angled toward the rail following a mid-pack stalking trip and looked like a winner before Shotgun Gulch, last for much of the way before angling out for the drive, launched a furious run farther out into the track.

“The filly really ran well,” said Gomez. “She’s not a real big horse, and sometimes little horses travel really well over a synthetic racetrack. That’s what it was today.”

The end-of-race drama might have paled to what was happening behind the scenes with Rick Dutrow, who entered Amen Hallelujah on Sunday but had his application for a trainer’s license in Kentucky denied on Wednesday. Dutrow won a court injunction Thursday to permit the filly to run, although with about five minutes to post came an announcement, as ordered by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, that a trainer change for Amen Hallelujah was being made from Dutrow to Justin Sallusto.

Commission chairman Bob Beck was on hand at Keeneland. He said the commission attempted to have the injunction overturned Thursday in a Frankfort appeals court but was unable to have a hearing scheduled. “We will try again [Friday],” said Beck.

Shotgun Gulch was coming off a fifth-place finish at 55-1 behind divisional standouts Havre de Grace and Blind Luck in the March 19 Azeri Stakes at Oaklawn Park. The filly now has won 7 of 17 career starts and has earned $478,146, including the $180,000 winner’s share from the Madison.

Evening Jewel, the 5-2 second choice, raced alongside of Amen Hallelujah for much of the way before flattening out late. The California-bred filly had to have a shoe repaired before the post parade.