Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Rapid Redux racks up 20th in a row, sets modern mark

Robert L. Cole Jr.'sRapid Redux made short work of just three rivals in Monday night's8TH race at Mountaineer to record his 20th consecutive victory, surpassing the modern North American mark of 19 straight wins shared by Zenyatta and Peppers Pride. A credit to trainer David Wells, the prohibitive 1-9 favorite led every step of the way, delivered the coup de grace turning for home, and won as rider Deshawn Parker pleased by an easy four lengths.

Rapid Redux's list of prospective rivals kept shrinking as the historic moment approached. Three were early scratches after the initial entries appeared, including his entrymate Zio Tony, Jemaru and It's About Image.

Three more were withdrawn from the starter allowance on Monday -- Copper Forest, the 8-1 second choice on the morning line; Disco Indy, the 12-1 third choice; and Lil Skeletol. Nearing the gate, yet another foe fell by the wayside when Spiritwood was a late scratch by the veterinarian.

As if sensing the importance of his assignment, or wanting to prolong the drama for the fans hanging on his every move, Rapid Redux refused to load. He went in partially, only to stop short. Parker brandished the whip as an incentive, but Rapid Redux wouldn't take up his position until he was good and ready. Finally, the front of the gate was opened, and he eventually obliged.

Quickest into stride from the outside post, Rapid Redux went straight to the lead and angled over on Sunshine Bo entering the first turn, appearing to tighten him up in the process. But Sunshine Bo recovered to play a pace-prompting role. Lady on Fire settled in third, and Sunshine Kid trailed.

Rapid Redux was effortlessly gliding over the muddy, sealed track as he reeled off fractions of :24 3/5 and :48 4/5. Sunshine Bo tried to turn up the pressure, but he was a spent force approaching the far turn, and Rapid Redux started to pull away.

Then Lady on Fire made her bid to stand athwart history and yell stop. Track announcer Peter Berry described her rally as "representing Zenyatta and Peppers Pride," referring to her intent to preserve her fellow distaffers' place in the record book.

But her sharp move on the far turn made little impact on Rapid Redux, who simply increased his margin at the top of the stretch. From there it was just a victory procession as he finished the mile in 1:40 under wraps, remaining perfect from four starts at Mountaineer. He handed Parker his third straight winner, and fourth overall, on the night.

Lady on Fire held second by two lengths from Sunshine Kid. Sunshine Bo brought up the rear, another 11 lengths back.

Rapid Redux rewarded his fans with $2.20 and $2.20, except for those who might have kept their tickets as a souvenir. There was no show wagering.

Since being claimed by his current connections for $6,250 at Penn National in October 2010, Rapid Redux has now captured 21 of 22 starts at a variety of venues around the Mid-Atlantic region. His only loss in that time frame came in his second outing for the Wells barn, when he backed up to eighth in a starter allowance a year ago, also at Penn National. Wells revealed that Rapid Redux displaced his palate that day, and a minor throat operation corrected the problem. Following Monday night's victory, he has amassed $342,229 in earnings from his overall 40-26-1-1 record.

Rapid Redux has a nicer pedigree than most denizens of starter allowance races. Bred by Fortress Pacific Equine in Kentucky, the son of Pleasantly Perfect is a half-brother to stakes winner Be Like Mike and the Grade 3-placed Sacred Journey, both by Unbridled's Song. His dam, the Storm Cat mare Thiscatsforcaryl, is a full sister to stakes victress Cat Affair, and she hails from the family of Group 1 Australian Oaks runner-up French Lady and Grade 1 Santa Ana Handicap heroine Annual Reunion. His fourth dam, the winning Love of Learning, is a full sister to the influential sire Halo and a half-sister to Hall of Famer Tosmah.

Sold for $85,000 at the 2007 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, Rapid Redux began his career with trainer Kelly Breen. He broke his maiden in his second try, and managed to finish a distant third in the 2008 Tyro Stakes. But after several bad defeats, he was dropped into claiming company, where he descended the ladder until being scooped up by Cole and Wells.

Rapid Redux's eligibility for starter allowances will expire at the end of this calendar year. He was reportedly pre-entered in the December 3 Claiming Crown at Fair Grounds, but it is uncertain whether his connections will pursue that path

Read more: http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/handicapping?source=http://www.brisnet.com/cgi-bin/editorial/article.cgi%3Fid=25327%26print=true%26header=bh#ixzz1eSvLe4S3

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