It has been a good fall for Laurel Park, a maligned track that doesn’t have the depth of history of Pimlico but is still counted on to host live racing in Maryland. First, it was the return of the DeFrancis Dash on Oct. 22, and now some history.
On Thursday, a little horse named Rapid Redux ran at Laurel Park, winning his 19th consecutive race to tie a North American record. He joins Zenyatta – considered perhaps the best championship filly/mare ever – and Peppers Pride with the record.
“I think I’ve owned more than a thousand horses in my day and kind of hope they all improve tremendously and get some kind of joy like this,” owner Robert L. Cole Jr. said, as quoted by the Maryland Jockey Club. “You dream about it, but typically these dreams don’t come true.”
Again, it wasn’t close. Rapid Redux was the class of the allowance race at Laurel. He has dominated in such fashion most of the way to tying the record.
The 5-year-old is one victory away from having the record all to himself, and with 17 wins in 2011, just two short of tying the mark set by Citation in 1948.
The record accomplishment is something to be respected, though with a sense of perspective. It’s hard to argue that Rapid Redux – who has done most of his winning against lower-level, New Mexico-bred horses – was on the same level as Citation or Zenyatta. Peppers Pride is probably a better comparison.
Cole took advantage of his horse – claimed for just $6,250 a bit over a year ago – being simply better than those horses. But, according to people in the horse racing industry, that’s a common occurrence from decades past.
Rapid Redux has earned $237,009 as a cash cow for Cole since being claimed in October 2010. More money could follow, but one more win puts the gelding in the record book by himself.
Where that will happen is still uncertain. Laurel Park would obviously love to host a possible record-breaking race, though the same can be said of other mid-Atlantic tracks, like Parx in Philadelphia and Mountaineer Raceway. It’s likely Rapid Redux’s next – and only – chance to break the record will come in late November or early December.
Laurel Park has some options in there that could be attractive and perhaps set the stage for more history.