Robert Cole Jr.’s Rapid Redux withstood challenges from two opponents through the first mile and then drew away to win his 18th race in a row Oct. 14 at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races (VIDEO).
Rapid Redux, trained by David Wells and ridden by J.D. Acosta, made it look easy despite some pace pressure. The 5-year-old Pleasantly Perfect gelding grabbed the early lead from the rail in the 1 1/18-mile starter allowance test but was immediately pushed by Working Man Blues, a Fort Erie shipper, to his outside.
Jockey Michael McMullen kept Working Man Blues just outside of front-running Rapid Redux through fractions of :24.33 for the opening quarter-mile, :48.81 for a half-mile, and 1:14.32 for six furlongs on a track rated good. When Working Man Blues backed away, Smiling Jordan made a strong move on the third and final turn to challenge the leader but eventually came under the whip by rider Xavier Perez.
Rapid Redux re-opened his lead after a mile in 1:38.64 and coasted home to win by 4 3/4 lengths in 1:51.94. Smiling Jordan again finished second to Rapid Redux, with Working Man Blues third.
The winner paid $2.80. There was no show wagering, so the place pool topped $40,000, given the heavy favorite.
Rapid Redux did catch a break when the Scooter Davis-trained entry of Disco Indy and Valid Venture scratched. Those two had drawn posts one and two, respectively, inside of the favorite, and both had shown good speed in previous races.
Officials said Davis contacted Charles Town stewards to inform them he had van trouble on the way from Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort and would have to scratch his horses from the $25,000 race.
After the race Wells said he was relieved.
“I was nervous when Smiling Jordan made that big middle move,” the trainer said, “but (Rapid Redux) kept going. It’s either his way or the highway.”
Acosta indicated the race was easier than it looked. “I was a little concerned about (Working Man Blues) with speed,” the jockey said. “I did have to push him a little but I didn’t abuse him. I smooched at him turning for home and he took off.”
Rapid Redux was greeted in the winner’s circle by a youngish group that made the trip with Wells and Cole. The owner, who claimed Rapid Redux for $6,250 last year, said he was impressed given the fact the final time was almost a second faster than the 1:52.71 recorded for the 1 1/8-mile, $50,000 HBPA Governor’s Cup Stakes won by Fonda Ronda Won earlier on the card.
“I was really happy to see him beat the stakes time,” Cole said. “That means a lot. It doesn’t matter which race he was entered in, he would have kicked ass. It’s not just cheaper horses he can beat.”
Cole wouldn’t say where Rapid Redux would continue his assault on the record books, though Charles Town, where the gelding is now four-for-four, has carded a comparable $25,000 starter allowance event at 1 1/16 miles for Nov. 3. It’s possible he could shoot for his 19th consecutive victory in that spot.
Despite the gelding’s record, Cole said he believes dirt isn’t his best surface.
“I think he’s better on turf than dirt, though I’m the only person who says that,” Cole said. “But we’re not going to try that until after the streak.”
Rapid Redux, who now has 24 wins in 38 starts, was bred in Kentucky by Fortress Pacific Equine.