01/31/2009 1:00AM

Oaklawn: Three in a row for Native Ruler

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Native Ruler picked up his third consecutive win when he outgamed Semaphore Man for a 1 1/2-length win in the $50,000 King Cotton at Oaklawn. It was another 2 3/4 lengths back to Silver Edition in third.

Native Ruler ($5.40) joined Semaphore Man on the front end soon after the start in the King Cotton, and the pair flew through fractions of 21.81 seconds for the opening quarter-mile of the six-furlong race and 44.60 for the half-mile. Their battle continued into the stretch, with Native Ruler beginning to get away from Semaphore Man just past the sixteenth pole. The winner covered the distance in 1:09.66.

"I appreciate the effort of both horses," said Chris Richard, who trains Native Ruler for Maggi Moss. "Both horses ran extremely hard."

Eddie Razo Jr. rode Native Ruler, who began his win streak at Churchill Downs in October, in an $80,000 optional claimer. He then won the $55,000 Bet on Sunshine, an overnight handicap, at Churchill in November. Native Ruler has now won 9 of 21 starts and $298,011.