08/16/2009 12:00AM

Native Ruler wears down Coach Jimi Lee


Native Ruler, the pride and joy of leading owner Maggi Moss's locally based string, made a sparkling return to form when convincingly edging clear from the 9-year-old veteran Coach Jimi Lee to take Saturday evening's $75,000 Prairie Meadows Sprint. The winning margin was three lengths, and Native Ruler, who carried high weight of 124 pounds, ran the six furlongs in a spritely 1:08.26.

Expertly positioned by jockey Terry Thompson just three lengths behind Coach Jimi Lee's sensible fractions of 21.88 seconds and 45.20, Native Ruler made smooth headway on the turn, drew even approaching the furlong marker, and wore down his determined rival thereafter. Coach Jimi Lee, who has never finished out of the top two here in 10 previous starts, showed his continued affinity for the surface by staying on to finish two lengths clear of the deep-closing High Expectations.

Trained by Chris Richard, Native Ruler, a 5-year-old horse by Elusive Quality who was claimed in early 2008 for a mere $25,000, added another $45,000 to his bankroll. Sent off as the prohibitive 2-5 favorite in the field of six, Native Ruler paid $2.80 to win. The exacta, which consisted of two sprinters responsible for four victories in the Iowa Sprint Handicap in the last six runnings, paid $10.80.

It is undetermined where Moss and Richard will go next with Native Ruler, who is arguably the most talented Thoroughbred stabled here. However, they would prefer to keep him in races contested over dirt surfaces.