Rapid Redux matches Citation's mark

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Rapid Redux on Tuesday tied a modern US thoroughbred record for most victories in a calendar year, winning his 19th race of 2011.

With 19 wins this year, the 5-year-old gelding matched the mark shared by the great Citation (1948) and Hall of Fame horse Roseben (1905).

It was Rapid Redux's 21st straight victory, including two wins late in 2010, and it may have been his last race. His trainer would like to retire the 5-year-old gelding at the end of the year.

''I do not want to push him," trainer David Wells said. "I would like to stop at the end of the year. Why not let him go out on top?''

Rapid Redux, ridden by J.D. Acosta, outsprinted five challengers in the 1-1/16 mile starter allowance race at Laurel Park from the outset and held off the strong-closing Awesome Rhythm to win by a half-length.

The final time was 1 minute, 45.08 seconds. A 3-10 favorite, Rapid Redux returned $2.60 for a $2 win bet.

Rapid Redux broke the record for consecutive wins last month at Mountaineer Park with his 20th straight victory, moving past two fillies of recent vintage, Zenyatta and Peppers Pride.

Rapid Redux last lost on Nov. 18, 2010. Since the streak began, he has raced at seven different tracks and with seven different riders. Acosta has ridden him more than anyone else, seven times.

''He's like Michael Phelps — you train him to swim,'' the jockey said. ''This horse — you train him to run.''

Owner Robert Cole claimed Rapid Redux at Penn National for $6,250 in 2010. He and Wells took advantage of a rule that allowed the horse to run in races for those that had been claimed. Rapid Redux won't be eligible for those after the end of the year.

Cole and Wells have run Rapid Redux in races with modest purses and at tracks only the most devoted horse racing fans are familiar with — Mountaineer Park, Timonium, Charles Town and Penn National. The horse has won $256,384 during the streak.

''The reason we've kept him sound is we've picked our spots. If we run him in an allowance or stakes race, he's going to get sored up,'' Cole said. ''We're not overmatching him.''

Wells was especially nervous watching this latest race. Of the 21 straight wins, only three have been this close.

''He's done as much as he could do,'' the trainer said. ''I was kind of at peace if he did lose or something. I felt like this was as far as we could ask to get to, but we pulled one more out, and I'm very thankful.''

The owner wouldn't go as far as his trainer in saying he didn't want Rapid Redux to race in 2012.

''He's been saying that for two months,'' Cole said. ''I do want to quit while he's on top.''

Puerto Rico racing legend Camarero won 29 races in 1955 and had a 56-race winning streak from 1953-55.

Hungarian-bred Kincsem went 54 for 54 in her career from 1876-79 racing against top competition throughout Europe.

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