Amen Hallelujah Reaching for Oaks Glory

Amen Hallelujah Reaching for Oaks Glory
Photo: Coglianese Photos
Amen Hallelujah has been prepping for the Kentucky Oaks on the turf at Gulfstream.

Lately, Mike Sherack of IEAH Stables and Stan Whisenant of Whizway Farms have been singing the phrases of their 3-year-old filly Amen Hallelujah, and understandably so.

The daughter of Montbrook, who has two 2010 graded stakes victories to her credit leading up to the April 30 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), most recently posted a pair of bullet works on the turf at Gulfstream Park April 4 and April 11. Sporting a record of 4-2-2 from nine starts, she has earned $352,370.

“(Trainer Rick Dutrow ) breezed her on the turf for the first time going into that last race (March 20 Bonnie Miss, gr. II) at Gulfstream, and she breezed well on it, and then she ran well on the main track (finished second),” said Sherack of the dark bay or brown filly.

“Rick was doing that with other horses down there…some horses were training good on the turf, and he thought it was a little easier on them in getting them to their races the right way. So (Amen Hallelujah) is training really well, and hopefully training on the turf even for a dirt race works for the Oaks like it did for our last race.”

Sherack explained how IEAH had privately purchased a share of Amen Hallelujah before last year’s Darley Alcibiades Stakes (gr. I). Prior to that, she was raced exclusively by Whisenant’s Whizway Farms.

“She just looked like a young filly with potential (she had won an optional claimer by five lengths at Arlington Park prior to the Alcibiades), and the Alcibiades was coming up, and it seemed like she would fit and be worth a shot,” said Sherack. “She ran a really good third that day, and since then has just blossomed.”

Bred in Florida by Thorobeam Farm, Amen Hallelujah was named after the phrase Whisenant’s 2-year-old son would say after his bedtime prayers. Whisenant bought the filly through agent Cecil Seaman for $40,000 at the 2008 Keeneland September yearling sale.

A physician by profession, Whisenant got involved in the Thoroughbred business in 2001 because of his father John Whisenant, who has a small stud farm in New Mexico. Upon entering the industry, Stan Whisenant named his Heath, Texas-based Whizway Farms in honor of his father, who also formerly coached the Sacramento Monarchs of the WNBA and was nicknamed ‘Coach Wiz’ by his players. Stan Whisenant currently keeps just two broodmares at Whizway, but he also owns an interest in eight broodmares boarded at different farms in Kentucky.

While Whisenant campaigns around six other horses in Canada in addition to Amen Hallelujah, IEAH has a much larger stable spread across the United States. Headed by president/director Mike Iavarone, IEAH has been represented by multiple grade I winners alone or in partnership over the years, the most well known of which is 2008 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Big Brown  .

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