01/27/2010 12:00AM

March return likely for Native Ruler


Native Ruler will not be defending his title Saturday in the $50,000 King Cotton at Oaklawn. Instead, he is targeting a March return to the races after being freshened, said his trainer, Chris Richard.

"We last ran him back in September," he said. "After that race we turned him out, gave him 90 days off. I don't anticipate him being ready to go until the Hot Springs in March. If we're not ready, then the Count Fleet in April."

The $60,000 Hot Springs, at six furlongs at Oaklawn, will be run March 20. The Grade 3, $150,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap, also at Oaklawn, is April 9. Native Ruler is 3 for 3 at Oaklawn. Overall, he is a six-time stakes winner of $401,041.

Native Ruler was second to Ez Dreamer in the $100,000 Premiere Handicap at Zia Park in his last start Sept. 13. Before that, he won the Prairie Meadows Sprint.

Another bullet work for Silver City

Silver City is getting close to a return to the races after working a bullet five furlongs in 1:00.20 at Sam Houston on Wednesday morning. It was the third straight bullet work for Silver City, a stakes winner who last year spent some time on the road to the Kentucky Derby.

"He's training fantastic," trainer Bret Calhoun said.

Calhoun said that after the horse works another five-eighths next week, he will begin searching for a spot for his return. Silver City last raced in April, finishing fifth in the Grade 3 Derby Trial at Churchill Downs. Before that, he won the $50,000 Dixieland at Oaklawn and also ran second to early Kentucky Derby favorite Old Fashioned in Oaklawn's Grade 3, $250,000 Southwest.

Rachel halter being auctioned

A Rachel Alexandra halter displayed in a shadowbox is being auctioned to help raise funds for the non-profit organization Remember Me Rescue. It was donated by the connections of Rachel Alexandra, and alongside the halter are the signatures of her trainer, Steve Asmussen, and her rider, Calvin Borel.

Remember Me Rescue, based in Burleson, Texas, places retired racehorses in new homes. Funds from the auction will go toward building a new barn at the facility, which last year placed 36 horses. The minimum bid is $1,000. For more information, contact Donna Keen at (817) 689-1214.