07/06/2011 5:56PM

Thirteen in a row good at any level

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Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Cllub
Rapid Redux, with Sheldon Russell riding, wins a seven-furlong starter allowance at Laurel.

The 2011 version of Zenyatta lives on in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia.

Rapid Redux had raced 17 times from May 2008 until October 2010. The horse had five wins: a maiden at Monmouth, a $25,000 claiming race at Gulfstream Park, a $9,000 claimer at Penn National, and two $5,000 claiming races at Penn and Monmouth.

Belmont Stakes star Kelly Breen trained the horse at the start and thought enough of him to try him in the Tyro Stakes in his third career start and the Long Branch Stakes in his fifth. Those efforts turned out to be bridges too far, so the horse ended up in claiming races.

A son of Pleasantly Perfect, Rapid Redux was a nice horse, but nothing particularly special. Then, on Oct. 13, 2010, Rapid Redux was claimed for $6,250 by high-percentage trainer David Wells for very high-percentage owner Robert Cole. The then-4-year-old finished first that day at Penn National, but was disqualified and placed eighth. He got a Beyer Speed Figure of 78, one point off his career best.

Wells immediately put the horse in a first-level allowance race at Penn. He gutted out a win, getting a 73 Beyer. In his next start, Rapid Redux could not survive a speed duel and finished last.

So, who really knew what to expect when the horse was entered in an $8,000 claiming race on Dec. 2 at Penn. The horse went off at 5-1 and won by a length, getting a career-best Beyer of 80. Rapid Redux got another 80 when he won his final race of 2010.

In 2011, Rapid Redux has raced 11 times at five tracks over six distances with five jockeys. The only thing that has not changed is the result. Rapid Redux has won them all.

And, lately, none of them has been close. Rapid Redux won at five furlongs and seven furlongs at Laurel Park. The horse won at a mile and 70 yards, 1 1/16 miles, and 1 1/8 miles at Penn. He won at a flat mile at Mountaineer and Parx. He crushed them at nine furlongs twice at Charles Town.

The gelding is the racing opposite of Zenyatta. He has never been behind in his last 12 wins. He was actually second by a head after the first call of the first race of what is now a 13-race winning streak.

Rapid Redux has won his last five starts by a combined 33 1/2 lengths. Fast fractions, slow fractions, sprint, route, fast, good, sloppy. Nothing matters. The horse goes to the front and ends up in the winner's circle.

And those Beyers? They have gone up. During the streak, every Beyer but one has been larger than any Beyer the horse had earned during his first 19 races. And the other Beyer, a 79, tied his career best in his first life.

Rapid Redux got 94 in January at Charles Town and then three consecutive 90 Beyers in March and April at Penn and Charles Town.

Clearly, they have found this horse's correct style of running. Even in that other life, Rapid Redux never lost when he got a clear lead. Now, they can't keep him off the lead or out of the winner's circle.

A horse who had only won consecutive races once in his career has now won 13 straight, seven shy of passing Zenyatta and Peppers Pride. There are no comparisons being made here, other than winning streaks. Zenyatta needs no amplification. And Peppers Pride was kind of amazing in her New Mexico setting.

Rapid Redux has not been eligible to be claimed this year. Those starter allowances have fit the bill quite nicely.

The horse has won $133,413 in those 11 starts in 2011, so he has a way to go to catch his sire's $7.7 million, including wins in the 2003 Breeders' Cup Classic and 2004 Dubai World Cup.

Still, 13 straight is a serious accomplishment, no matter the competition.

Bill Fidati leaves fond memories

We lost one of racing's treasures last week. Bill Fidati was the last publicity director at Garden State Park. If there has ever been a nicer person in racing or anywhere else, nobody can name him. Everybody liked Bill.

Before a racing card, during a card, or afterwards, Bill could be found in his ground-floor corner office, pleasant, wanting to help in any way he could. He had a newspaper background, once covering City Hall in Philadelphia. He understood the business and the people in it.

When his friends found out that Bill had passed away, the stories began. Garden State has been gone for a decade. Go to the site now and you would never know a racetrack once stood there. But we will always know Bill was there.