09/28/2011 11:11AM

Rapid Redux heads to Mountaineer for shot at 18th straight win

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Rapid Redux will attempt to move closer to the all-time North American record of 19 consecutive victories shared by Zenyatta and Pepper’s Pride when he returns to Mountaineer Racetrack for Friday night’s featured eighth race.

The 5-year-old Rapid Redux, claimed for $6,250 last October at Penn National, will be seeking his 18th straight victory in a starter allowance that will be contested at one mile on the main track. He is listed as the 3-5 favorite on the track’s mornling line in a field of eight horses who have started for a claiming price of $5,000 or less the past two seasons.

Owner Robert Cole and trainer David Wells have sent Rapid Redux to seven different racetracks and used seven different jockeys during the streak, in which the son of Pleasantly Perfect has won at seven different distances ranging from five furlongs to 1 1/8 miles. Their goal is to surpass the record before the end of December, when Rapid Redux will no longer be eligible for starter allowances.

“I started thinking about the record in the 10 to 12 range, when I’d say we were about 15 percent ,” said Cole. “With each win that percentage has gone up. I’d say we are a little better than 50 percent to make it right now.”

Rapid Redux is 15 for 15 in 2011, including three wins at Mountaineer – two in May and the other in mid-July. Since he was acquired by Cole, Rapid Redux has won 18 of 19 starts and $210,609.

Cole led the nation in victories in 2008 with a career-best 234 and has ranked among the nation’s leaders in wins and earnings seven times since 2001.

Despite Rapid Redux’s dominance in the starter allowance ranks, racing secretaries have had no problem filling fields when his name pops up in he entry box.

“I can’t understand it,” said Cole. “I guess people want to take a shot to beat us. I wouldn’t run against him.”

Cole isn’t tipping his hand where Rapid Redux will run next, but racetracks throughout the Mid-Atlantic region are writing races in condition books to entice Cole.

“Everybody is calling,” Cole said. “We could run anywhere east of the Mississippi. We tend to like the lesser known tracks – Thistledown, Charles Town, Mountaineer, Penn National. We like to run where somebody from New York or Philly might not run. It’s worked well so far.”