Jan. 29, 2011
HOT SPRINGS, AR (Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011) – Maggi Moss’ 7-year-old former claimer Native Ruler showed he’s all class with a hard-fought victory in Saturday’s $50,000 King Cotton Stakes at Oaklawn Park. After a three-horse battle to the wire, the veteran runner, who won the same race in 2009, prevailed by a neck over Mighty Rule with River Bear another neck behind in third. Final time for the six-furlong race was 1:10 over a fast track.
Native Ruler paid $8.60, $4.20 and $2.60, Mighty Rule paid $9.00 and $4.00 and River Bear paid $3.80 to show. Mesa Sunrise, the 8-5 favorite, finished seventh of eight after being trapped on the rail throughout most of the race.
“It worked out just the way we talked about,” said Thompson. “(Trainer) Chris (Richard) and (owner) Maggi (Moss) are so easy to ride for. They just put the race in my hands. We figured there would be inside speed and I was able to sit right off of them. The key was trying to reserve some in the tank because he’d missed some training and I was able to give him a breather from the middle of the turn to the top of the stretch. Down the lane it was a horse race. It was 10 yards from the wire before he got his head in front. It actually worked out for me, having a horse to my inside and outside. He’s an old class horse that likes to win.”
“He's such a game and gutsy horse,” added trainer Chris Richard. “The weather in Kentucky had been so tough and we had missed a couple scheduled works, but he's just been training so well since we got him here. I knew I was close with him, but I wasn't totally confident. He was able to gut it out today. He's easily our best claim ever. He just shows up every time and as honest and consistent as they come. Don't ask me how, but at 7 years old, he's about as good as he's ever been in his life. I think we want to stay here for the next two races. The Count Fleet was so tough last year, but I'd love to get back there again.”
Richard and Moss claimed Native Ruler for $25,000 as a 3-year-old in his ninth career start. Since that time, the Kentucky-bred son of Elusive Quality has 12 races for his connections. Overall, he has won 14 of 32 races and amassed $534,196 in earnings.
Live racing resumes at Oaklawn on Sunday with a 1:30 p.m. first post.
Roger Brueggemann, trainer of second-place finisher Mighty Rule
“For not running as long as he had, that was a great race. He had a lot of bad luck last year. He ran off one morning and ran into a car. That's how he got that big scar. Then he needed throat surgery. So he went through a lot and I'm happy to see him fit. He's such a gutsy horse. We will probably try and get him ready for the big Illinois-bred races for him in the spring.”
Chris Emigh, jockey of second-place finisher Mighty Rule:
“I had an easy quarter. I got to do what I wanted, but when we sprinted home, I just got outrun.”
Danush Sukie, jockey of third place finisher River Bear:
“Thought my horse ran a big race. I really pleased.”
Jeremy Rose, jockey of beaten favorite Mesa Sunrise:
“He broke well, but was in a little tight around the backside. You watch him. He will really improve off of this race.”