Updated on 10/30/2011 10:42AM

Rapid Redux ties record with 19th consecutive victory at Laurel Park

Email

A wet, gray Thursday at Laurel Park in Maryland produced a piece of racing history. Rapid Redux ran his way into racing record books winning for the 19th time in a row, equaling the modern win-streak record of 19 held by Peppers Pride and Zenyatta.

Rapid Redux, the 1-5 favorite in a $7,500 starter allowance, was urged to the lead at the start of the seven-furlong race, which was contested on a muddy dirt track. Setting splits of 23.31 seconds for the first quarter-mile, 46.25 to the half, and a fast 1:10.89 for six furlongs, Rapid Redux was challenged around the far turn by Rich Hero, but turned back his rival’s bid with a determined stretch run to win by 2 3/4 lengths, stopping the timer in 1:24.07.

“It was a little tougher than I was expecting, but we got it done,” said owner Robert Cole, who claimed Rapid Redux on Oct. 13, 2010, and has won 20 races with the 5-year-old Pleasantly Perfect gelding. “It wasn’t his best performance.”

Cole, a native of Baltimore County, wanted Rapid Redux to win his 19th straight in his own backyard, but that meant turning Rapid Redux back from a series of longer route races to a seven-furlong sprint. The move concerned trainer David Wells, who would have preferred to run in an upcoming nine-furlong race at Charles Town. Rapid Redux, though, has compiled his streak over distances ranging from five to nine furlongs, and has adapted to a host of racing venues.

“The five-eighths to the mile-and-an-eighth,” said Wells, asked what most impressed him about Rapid Redux. “Being that versatile.”

Jockey J.D. Acosta said he rode to instructions, urging Rapid Redux to the lead at the break. Early exertion left Rapid Redux running on heart the final quarter-mile.

“I had to use him a little too much in the beginning, just because he’d been running a mile and an eighth,” Acosta said. “He basically was running off the whole time. He never relaxed like he has been.”

Zenyatta, obviously, towers over the other two 19-straight winners, having won two Breeders’ Cup races and a Horse of the Year award. Peppers Pride retired undefeated while never leaving New Mexico-bred competition. Both mares needed four seasons of racing to win their 19 in a row, but Rapid Redux has put together his remarkable streak in less than 11 months. And since his eligibility to lower-level starter-allowance races expires at the end of 2011, expect to see the attempt at win number 20 come before too long.

The Maryland Jockey Club racing office has starter allowance races on Nov. 10 (one mile on the turf), Nov. 11 (5 1/2 furlongs on the turf), Nov. 15 (one mile on the main track) and Nov. 17 (five furlongs on the main track) in its current condition book.

“There seems to be a lot of spots in the next couple of weeks,” Cole said. “I’m not sure where we go. We really got to space out three to four weeks, something along those lines, and see how he comes out of the race.”