- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 13, 2011

LAUREL, Md. — The best horse doesn’t win every race. Unless that horse is Rapid Redux.

The 5-year-old gelding won again Tuesday, capturing the sixth race at Laurel Park to tie a modern U.S. record with 19 victories in a year.

It also was his 21st consecutive win, setting yet another record.

“I don’t think he really wants to get beat because as soon as we turn for home, he just starts running so hard. You feel it,” said J.D. Acosta, who has been aboard for seven of the wins, more than any other jockey. “Every time he wins is a record.”

Every time he races — at least dating to Dec. 2, 2010 — Rapid Redux has wound up in the winner’s circle. This time, he posed for pictures as a bigger-than-normal Tuesday crowd greeted him with a champion’s ovation.

It was just the latest chance for Rapid Redux, owner Robert Cole and trainer David Wells to rewrite the record book, this time tying 1948 Triple Crown winner Citation for most victories in a calendar year. That seemed a virtual impossibility when Wells and Cole claimed this horse in the fall of 2010 for $6,520.

“There’s no way you could ever imagine claiming a horse for $6,000 that would be mentioned in the same breath as Citation,” Cole said. “It’s more than a million to one.”

Those are roughly the odds that a horse Wells said was racing at “the bottom of the barrel” turns in this kind of streak and makes this kind of history. He was a heavy 1-5 favorite to beat an overmatched field at Laurel Park.

Cole and Wells have admitted picking good spots where Rapid Redux can take advantage of his superior talent against some inferior competition, which is what happened Tuesday as the horse made it look easy by taking an early lead and holding on to beat Awesome Rhythm by a half-length.

J.D. did an excellent job down the backside,” Wells said. “He let the horses come to him a little bit and asked him just a little bit and saved plenty of horse for the lane.”

He paid $2.60 to win, $2.40 to place and $2.10 to show in capturing the 1 1/16-mile race.

The only chance Rapid Redux has of breaking the record for wins in a year would be if his owner and trainer can find a suitable race New Year’s Eve. That might be a hard bet to come by, though, and his schedule still is to be determined.

For now, everyone around the horse and the racing community is left to appreciate Rapid Redux’s accomplishment and place in history.

“This horse, he’s an athlete. When you train him to do something — he’s like Michael Phelps,” Acosta said. “You train him to swim, this horse is trained to run.”

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