09/16/2011 11:00PM

Charles Town: Rapid Redux collects 17th consecutive victory

Mike Montgomery Photo
Rapid Redux improves to 15 for 15 this year with his 17th win in a row, two shy of Zenyatta and Pepper's Pride.

Rapid Redux remained on course in his quest to challenge the all-time record of 19 consecutive wins by a North American Throroughbred by cruising to his 17th consecutive victory Friday night at Charles Town.

A 5-year-old gelding who was claimed for $6,500 by owner Robert Cole in October 2010, Rapid Redux is now just two wins shy of the record shared by the superstar mare Zenyatta and the New Mexico-bred mare Peppers Pride.

Sent off the 3-5 favorite in a field of eight horses in a $5,000 starter allowance, Rapid Redux ($3.20) was sent right to the front by jockey J.D. Acosta and opened up a comfortable two-length lead through a six furlongs in 1:12.75. He was 3 1/2 lengths in front entering the short stretch and had no real problem repelling a mild bid from Smiling Jordan, finishing 2 3/4 lengths clear while completing 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.30.

“The race played out like we thought it would,” trainer David Wells said. “He was getting a little tired at the end.  J.D. did a great job. He had the lead, but could feel the horse coming behind him and he kept on riding.”

It was the 15th consecutive win this season for Rapid Redux, who began his winning streak last December at Penn National. Since then, he has raced at seven different racetracks with seven different riders at distances from five furlongs to 1 1/8 miles.

Cole and Wells have stated they intend to shoot for the record and win as many races as they can with Rapid Redux before the end of the calendar year, when he will no longer be eligible to run in the starter allowance ranks, where he has recorded 13 of his wins during his spree.

Wells said he would like to run Rapid Redux three more times in 2011. While Wells is certain he wants the horse to remain in the $5,000 starter allowance ranks, he does not want to tip his hand about where or when he plans to enter Rapid Redux.

"He's a nice horse, but he's not an open allowance horse. He fits really well in these starter allowances and he doesn't have to run too hard. I think that's what keeps him sound," Wells said. "At this point, we don't want to take a chance of getting him beat. I don't want to announce where we might run because I'm afraid somebody will stick in a six-furlong horse just to burn him out. We'll be looking all over the East Coast for the right spot and slip an entry in the box the morning of the draw."

Short rest does not appear to be a problem for Rapid Redux, who has run twice already this month and three times since Aug. 22. In fact, his lowest winning Beyer Speed Figure, a 67, occurred when he was given five weeks between his win going a mile at Mountaineer Racetrack and his first start off the break at Thistledown.

Wells gives credit to Cole for suggesting claiming Rapid Redux last fall.

"I really had nothing to do with it," Wells said. "He saw that the horse was sired by Pleasantly Perfect, who won $7.8 million. This horse is bred to go a mile and a quarter, but he has six-furlong speed. We were lucky to get him because I think it was a three- or-four-way shake the night we claimed him. He ran one bad race, we did some minor throat surgery and he's been tremendous ever since."