Racing history could be made at Laurel Park as Rapid Redux, who has won 18 consecutive starts, looks to tie the all-time North American record of 19 straight victories held by Zenyatta and Peppers Pride, when he starts in Thursday afternoon’s 6th race, a $20,000 starter allowance.
The seven-furlong test drew seven runners, including Maryland Million Starter Handicap winner Shordzwatyadrink. Rapid Redux will start from post position six. Post time will be approximately 3:30 p.m.
“It looks good,” owner Robert Cole said. “It is a competitive race. They don’t run them on paper but I think we are a little better than everybody else.”
Cole, a Baltimore County native, claimed the son of Pleasantly Perfect on October 13, 2010 at Penn National for $6,250 and has watched the gelding win 19 of 20 races with earnings of $225,609, the majority in starter allowance company. He is a perfect 16-of-16 in 2011.
“I am very excited but cautious,” Cole said this afternoon at Laurel Park. “I know one day he is going to get beat. I just hope it isn’t Thursday.”
The win-streak began on Dec. 2, 2010 at Penn National. Since then Cole and trainer David Wells have sent their star to seven different tracks, including three races at Laurel Park and one at Timonium, using seven different riders. J.D. Acosta, who has been aboard four of the victories during the streak, is named to ride Thursday.
“I didn’t even know about this record until he got to about 10 or 12 wins and people started talking about it,” said Cole, who won seven races on May 9, 2008, including four at Pimlico Race Course with four different trainers. “I never thought it was reachable because you need to have so much good luck. We are fortunate to have a shot at tying it but just because we won 18 in a row doesn’t mean you automatically win the 19th. Anybody can have a bad day. I am definitely not counting my chickens before they hatch.”
Rapid Redux has won at seven different distances from five-furlongs to 1 1/8 miles.
Cole is no stranger to a successful claim. In 2003, he claimed Shake You Down from the Laurel barn of Luigi Gino and watched the horse blossom into one of the best sprinters in the country under the tutelage of trainer Scott Lake, winning three graded races and finishing in the money in a pair of Grade 1’s (second in Breeders’ Cup Sprint and third in De Francis Dash).
The 1981 graduate of Loch Raven High School topped the Maryland standings four consecutive years (2006-2009), 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.