It was the first graded stakes win for the 4-year-old Thunder Gulch filly, who was bred in Oklahoma by her owner/trainer, C. R. Trout, who also picked up his first grade I win. Garrett Gomez picked up the mount on Shotgun Gulch and timed the late move perfectly, picking off Amen Hallelujah in the final strides to score by head.
The final time for seven furlongs on Polytrack was 1:24.14.
“She ran really good,” said Gomez, who rode Shotgun Gulch for the first time. “Sometimes the little ones travel well on synthetic racetracks.”
Shotgun Gulch was placed last in the field of nine after a half-mile as Dr. Zic, last year’s Madison winner, led the way under Corey Lanerie. Dr. Zic carved out fractions of :22.39, :45.62, and 1:10.92, and was still traveling well while maintaining a half-length lead over Amen Hallelujah at the top of the stretch.
Amen Hallelujah, with John Velazquez aboard, reeled in the leader soon after and seemed to have the Madison in her grasp. But she could not hold off Shotgun Gulch, who entered the lane five-wide and swept past everyone.
Amen Hallelujah settled for second, 2 3/4 lengths in front of Dr. Zic. Evening Jewel, winner of the Central Bank Ashland (gr. I) at Keeneland last year, finished fourth as the 119-pound high weight.
Amen Hallelujah was declared eligible to run only hours before the race by a Kentucky judge who granted a temporary injunction against the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. The order came a day after officials unanimously voted to deny her trainer, Rick Dutrow Jr., a racing license this year.
Shotgun Gulch entered the Madison winless in her last four starts, including a pair of fifth-place finishes this season at Oaklawn Park. The last of those races came in the March 19 Azeri Stakes (gr. III) when she was in contention but tired in the final furlong. She had a pair of stakes wins in Oklahoma last season.
The winner, who is out of the Boston Harbor mare Rosieville, improved to 7-1-4 from 17 starts. She has now earned $478,146.
Shotgun Gulch paid $25.40, $9.20, and $6.20. The exacta (5-7) returned $89.80 and the trifecta (5-7-9) was worth $1,159.20.