05/20/2009 12:00AM

Native Ruler may return from injury in Iowa Sprint

Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography
Owner Maggi Moss hopes to have Native Ruler back in time for the June 27 Iowa Sprint Handicap.

Leading owner Maggi Moss currently has more than 30 horses at Prairie Meadows, most of whom reside in trainer Chris Richard's barn. She recently received great news about their most successful horse, the accomplished sprinter Native Ruler.

Victorious in seven of his last eight starts on dirt, including last June's Iowa Sprint Handicap in which he collected $75,000, the 5-year-old Native Ruler has been sidelined since taking Oaklawn Park's King Cotton Stakes by 1 1/2 lengths on Jan. 31.

"He developed an abscess in his left fore soon after the King Cotton," Moss said. "It went away, he resumed training, and then the same thing popped up, but worse."

Referred to by Moss as "her favorite horse," Native Ruler was given the green light to resume training a week ago. Moss hopes to have him ready for this year's $125,000 Iowa Sprint Handicap on June 27.

w The 2009 jockey colony at Prairie Meadows features plenty of familiar faces such as Tim Doocy, Terry Thompson, Alex Birzer, Glenn Corbett, and Ken Shino. But there are some interesting new riders such as Kyle Kaenel, Tommy Molina, Kristina Kenney, and Jesse Lantz working hard to make an impact.

Of that group, Kaenel, more than five years into his career at the ripe age of 21, moved his tack from Northern California to central Iowa.

"A few months ago, I was planning on heading to Woodbine but that didn't work out," Kaenel said,

Contacted by Corbett's longtime agent, Bobby Dean, he decided to give Prairie Meadows a try.

"I've never had the opportunity to race so close to my Southern Illinois-based family and it's nice to see my mother often." he said.

Kaenel's wife, Trinity - Russell Baze's daughter - and their nine-month-old son Owen are with him in Iowa.

Kaenel's seven winners include Elvy ($34.80), and Regal Hum, who returned $26 on Monday.