Updated on 01/02/2012 12:10PM

Laurel Park: Rapid Redux set to go for 22 straight

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Rapid Redux will go for his 22nd straight victory on Wednesday at Laurel Park.

Opening day at Laurel Park’s 2012 winter meet got an unexpected boost when Rapid Redux’s name showed up in the entry box.

Rapid Redux surpassed Zenyatta’s streak of 19 straight wins during a 2011 campaign in which he extended his own streak to 21, the most in North America since Camarero collected 56 straight victories in Puerto Rico during the 1950s, will shoot for his 22nd consecutive victory in Wednesday’s sixth race, a one-mile starter allowance with a purse of $17,000.

Although it was generally believed that Rapid Redux would no longer be eligible to compete in the starter allowance ranks once the 2011 calendar year ended, owner Robert Cole scrutinized condition books at various East Coast tracks and uncovered a handful of races that are still written for horses who ran for a claiming price of $5,000 or less in 2010 or 2011.

That will allow Cole and trainer David Wells to continue to race Rapid Redux at the same level where he has been dominant, winning 17 starter allowances during his current streak that included 19 wins in 2011, the most by a horse based in the continental United States in one season since Citation won 19 during his Triple Crown campaign in 1948.

“He cannot be treated like a normal horse and be running for a tag after he loses the condition,” Cole said of Rapid Redux, who turns 6 on Jan. 1. “I found five starter allowance races east of the Mississippi that he is eligible to run in. It is conceivable to have one or two more starts [in starter allowance company] after this one because there are already races written in condition books that accommodate his date.”

Cole claimed Rapid Redux at Penn National for $6,250 on Oct. 13, 2010. Since then, the gelding has won 22 of 23 races with earnings of $256,384. The win streak began Dec. 2, 2010 at Penn National. He has since raced at seven different tracks, at distances ranging from five furlongs to 1 1/8 miles.

Wednesday’s race drew nine other runners, including multiple stakes winner Delaware River, who became eligible when he was claimed out of his most recent start by trainer William Campbell out of a second-place finish for $5,000 on Dec. 17.