Updated on 10/17/2011 7:24PM

Rapid Redux scores No. 18 in a row at Charles Town

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Rapid Redux managed to repel two challenges, one early and one late, to secure his 18th consecutive victory Friday night at Charles Town.

A 5-year-old gelding who was claimed for $6,250 last fall, Rapid Redux is now one win away from tying the North American record shared by 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta and the New Mexico-bred mare Peppers Pride.

“It’s exciting,” said owner Robert Cole, after watching Rapid Redux score by 4 3/4 lengths while racing 1 1/8 miles over a track rated good. “We’re very happy. We’re looking in the [condition] books and will take a look up and down the East Coast and see what’s out there for him.

“We’re going to try as hard as we can to make history, but we’ll need some good luck.”

Although Rapid Redux won the $5,000 starter allowance race by a comfortable margin, he was challenged twice during the three-turn race. First, he faced pressure from Working Man Blues through a half-mile in 48.81 seconds.

Rapid Redux, now 16 for 16 this season, put away Working Man Blues, but then got tested  by Smiling Jordan, who made a big move to get within a half-length at the five-sixteenths pole.

“I was a little nervous when Smiling Jordan made the big move, but he kept on going,” trainer David Wells said.

Jockey J.D. Acosta asked Rapid Redux for a little more energy and he responded by pulling away in the stretch, completing the nine furlongs in 1:51.94.  Acosta said Rapid Redux was well within himself throughout the race.

“I was a little concerned about the 5 [Working Man Blues] with speed, but it was pretty easy tonight,” Acosta said.  “I was basically galloping.  I smooched at him a bit turning for home and he just took off.”

Charles Town also ran three stakes on Friday:

* Fonda Ronda Won came from last in a field of five under Antonio Lopez to defeat Cryptolight by a half-length and win the $50,900 HBPA Governor’s Cup for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles. Edgewater, the 7-10 favorite, dueled for the early lead and tired to third. Fonda Ronda Won paid $11.40 and ran the 1 1/8 miles in 1:52.71.

* The 2-1 Song Warrior ran down even-money favorite Comedero to win the $51,350 HBPA Jefferson County Commission Handicap. Ridden by Travis Dunkelberger, Song Warrior ran the 4 1/2 furlongs in 50.91 and returned $6.40. Ryan’s Gold was third in the eight-horse field of 3-year-olds and up.

* Dunkelberger guided 4-5 favorite Moonlit Malibu to a 1 1/2-length victory in the $51,225 HBPA Municipalities Mayors Handicap for fillies and mares. Spring Jump chased Moonlit Malibu for the entire seven furlongs and took second. Shefoggedmyglasses took third. Moonlit Malibu paid $3.80 and covered seven furlongs in 1:25.62.

additonal reporting by Ira Kaplan