Rapid's Streak - By Esther Marr

Rapid Redux may not carry with him the same glory as the mighty Zenyatta, but after a spotty start to his career, the 5-year-old son of Pleasantly Perfect has an impressive win streak going.

A hard-knocking 5-year-old gelding, Rapid Redux has won 14 straight races mostly in starter allowance company on the northeast circuit. He is thriving in the shadows, however, with his stellar streak virtually unnoticed by the racing world. His owner, Robert Cole, who ranked in the top 20 owners in North America from 2006-08, doesn’t mind racing out of the limelight. 

“Normally they don’t pan out like this…it’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing when you get a long streak like that, but in this case, everything just fell into place,” Cole said.

A Highland, Md.-based mortgage company owner, Cole developed his interest in the industry while handicapping horses at the Timonium Fair as a teenager. As a student of racing, Cole came to realize that behind every good horse is a good trainer. In the case of Rapid Redux, that trainer is David Wells.

“David has a good record, and he’s a good route trainer that gets a lot of fitness into the horses,” said Cole. “Trainers can make a big difference as far as how much they win and how much they improve a horse.”
Wells claimed Rapid Redux on Cole’s behalf for $6,520 from Kevin Fields last October in a 5 1/2-furlong race in which the horse finished first but was disqualified to eighth.

Cole saw potential in the gelding, a horse who flashed good speed in sprints and had the breeding to go longer but had never been tried at a distance.

“I thought he would be a great horse to get the lead and stretch out and go long,” said Cole. “It’s very tough to beat a horse if they have a ton of speed and can carry their speed.”

Cole’s intuition about Rapid Redux was spot on. Before being claimed, the gelding had been merely a respectable runner. He had won or placed in seven of 17 starts, prevailing in allowance and claiming races at Monmouth Park, Gulfstream Park, and Penn National.

After being acquired by Cole and having minor throat surgery to clear up a breathing issue, however, Rapid Redux took off. His victorious run began with a $20,000 claiming race at Penn National last December and continued for 13 more starts at distances ranging from six furlongs to 1 1/8 miles.

“He trains the same every day, and he’s been a very sound horse for us the whole time,” said Wells. “He goes out there, and he’s just made of iron.”

In 2011 Rapid Redux has raced at five different tracks, over six distances, and under five jockeys. The one constant has been the outcome. In his usual front-running style, Rapid Redux has a tendency to leave his opponents struggling in his wake as he romps to victory by substantial margins. The tracks have been fast, good, and sloppy, and the fractions have been fast and slow. Regardless, Rapid Redux ends up in the winner’s circle. In his last six starts alone, the gelding has prevailed by a combined 42 lengths.

“We don’t enter him in any races where we don’t think he can get the lead,” said Cole. “The bottom line is when he gets the lead and goes a moderate pace, he never loses. That’s what we look for when we enter him…races where the horses don’t have the speed to run with him early. Once he gets up three lengths, he’s game enough that they never get him.”

The big question looming now is where Rapid Redux will run next. The last time he entered a starter allowance race at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, so many horses were scratched the event had to be cancelled. “Nobody wants to run against him anymore, so we may have to step him up to an allowance race,” said Wells.

Rapid Redux is only five races away from tying the incredible 19-race win streaks of Zenyatta and Pepper’s Pride and though he has not been racing against the same caliber of horses, he deserves some accolades for reeling off a remarkable series of consecutive triumphs that few horses—white- or blue-collar—have accomplished.

“I don’t want to jinx him or anything, but we haven’t really pushed him that hard lately, and he’s getting 90-95 Beyers almost every time which is pretty impressive,” said Wells. “He’s got five-eighths speed, and he can go 1 1/8 miles. It’s amazing what he’s done…I don’t have anything in my barn like that. He’s just a freak.”

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