Rapid Redux wins 19th straight, ties record

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Rapid Redux tied a North American thoroughbred record for most victories in a calendar year, winning his 19th straight race Tuesday to match the mark set by Citation in 1948.

It may also have been Rapid Redux's last race. His trainer would like to retire the 5-year-old gelding at the end of the year.

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

Rapid Redux has won 21 consecutive races dating to 2010. He broke the record for consecutive wins last month at Mountaineer Park with his 20th straight victory. Citation had 19 wins in 20 starts in 1948, the year he won the Triple Crown.

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 trainer David 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.

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

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.''

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