The 5-year-old son of Pleasantly Perfect tied Peppers Pride and Zenyatta, who also won 19 straight races during their careers. The chestnut gelding defeated four rivals in the seven-furlong contest, covering the distance in 1:24.07 in his 2 3/4-length victory. J. D. Acosta rode him to his record-tying win.
Trained by David Wells, Rapid Redux was cutting back to one turn for the first time in 12 starts. During his streak he has raced at seven different racetracks and distances ranging from five furlongs to 1 1/8 miles.
Claimed for $6,250 in October 2010, he improved to 25-1-1 in 39 lifetime starts and earnings of $332,544.
"I’m kind of freaked out,” said Cole. “It was a little tougher than I was expecting. We got it done and I’m very thankful. This track has such a long stretch and a long run to the turn, I was worried. It wasn’t a desperate performance but we got it done.
"I think I’ve owned more than a thousand horses in my day and kind of hope they all improve tremendously and get some kind of joy like this. You dream about it but typically these dreams don’t come true.”
It was a two-horse race from gate to wire, as Rapid Redux broke sharply from post 4 and went right to the front. He was tracked closely by Rich Hero through opening fractions of :23.31 and :46.25. Rich Hero cut into the lead, getting to within about a length as they approached the turn.
Rapid Redux opened up his lead to two lengths at the eighth-pole, but was tested in the final furlong when Rich Hero continued to stay within striking distance despite drifting out. Rapid Redux dug in gamely in deep stretch to prevail for the third time at Laurel.
Rich Hero, ridden by Abel Castellano Jr., finished seven lengths ahead of third-place Shordawatyadrink.
“I didn’t want to make any mistakes,” Acosta said. “It was really an intense moment. You don’t want to do anything wrong. You want to be a part of history.”
Sent off at 1-5, Rapid Redux paid $2.40, $2.10, and $2.10.
“The horse has a tremendous amount of heart,” Wells said. “He feels and sees the horses or he hears them coming and he does not want to be passed. You saw that again today. He heard that horse coming and he just dug back in.”
Cole and Wells said they will look at condition books in the Mid-Atlantic and try to get Rapid Redux a chance at his record-breaking win in three to four weeks.
Rapid Redux was bred in Kentucky by Fortress Pacific Equine and is out of the Storm Cat mare Thiscatsforcaryl. He was an $85,000 purchase for his original owners, K & G Stables, at the Keeneland September 2007 yearling sale. He was consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent.