Maggi Moss’ multiple stakes winner Native Ruler split horses in mid-stretch and beat Tom McCarthy’s General Quarters to the wire to take the Friday afternoon feature at Churchill Downs by a neck.
Trained by Chris Richard and ridden by Miguel Mena, Native Ruler was fifth in the field of six at the top of the stretch and lacked room on the rail before being able to split between Wise Dan and Homerun Berti at the eighth-pole. Once in the clear, the 7-year-old son of Elusive Quality kicked home and completed the seven furlongs on a fast main track in 1:23.30.
Breaking from the rail as the 2-1 second-choice, Native Ruler returned mutuels of $6.40, $3.60 and $2.80. General Quarters, winner of the Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic beneath the Twin Spires in 2010, finished second in his first start since the 2010 Grade I Arlington Million and returned $3.60 and $3.20. Rayfield Houghlin and Eugene Broaddus’ Agastache held on for third and returned $4.80.
The victory was worth $38,820 and increased Native Ruler’s bankroll to $632,516 with a record of 16-4-4 from 37 starts.
Racing continues Saturday with an 11-race program highlighted by the 35th running of the Grade III, $100,000-added Early Times Mint Julep Handicap. Post time for the first race is 12:45 p.m. EDT, with the Mint Julep scheduled for Race 10 at 5:25 p.m.
Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 5, 2012. The track’s 2011 Spring Meet opened April 30 and continues through July 4. Churchill Downs has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships a record seven times and the event will return to the track for its next renewal on Nov. 4-5, 2011. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at www.churchilldowns.com.
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