Robert Cole Jr.’s Rapid Redux will attempt to tie the North American record for consecutive victories when he faces four other horses in a starter allowance test at Laurel Park Oct. 27.
The 5-year-old gelding by Pleasantly Perfect is the heavy morning-line favorite in the $20,000 race at seven furlongs. The North American record for consecutive wins is 19 held by Peppers Pride and Zenyatta.
Rapid Redux, claimed by Cole last year for $6,250, won his last two races going three turns at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races because of track configuration. He will cut back to one turn at Laurel but is undefeated in a limited number of starts at seven furlongs.
The win streak began Dec. 2, 2010, at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, where trainer David Wells is based. Cole is from Maryland.
J.D. Acosta, who rode Rapid Redux in his last two victories at Charles Town, has the call. After the gelding’s last victory, Acosta said it was easier than it looked; Rapid Redux was under pressure for at least a mile in the 1 1/8-mile starter allowance event and still drew away late for the victory.
Jockey Sheldon Russell, who rode Rapid Redux three times and Laurel and won each time, will ride Noah's Dream in the Oct. 26 race.
“The race looks like it sets up perfect for him,” Russell told Laurel officials. “He is lone speed and I think the rest of us have a lot to prove. Unless something happens that hasn’t happened in the last 18 races, I think he’ll win it. I don’t think anyone can beat him.
“It would be neat to tell my friends and family I had a small part in this history making run. They have spotted him in the right races, and I wish them the best of luck.”
Acosta also rode Rapid Redux to a win at the Maryland State Fair at Timonium in August. That race also was around three turns on the five-eighths-mile track.
“Everybody expects him to win so I don’t want to make any mistakes,” Acosta said. “I want to break in front and slow down the pace as much as possible, which isn’t going to be easy with the bulls-eye on our back.
“My goal is to tie the record and then try to reach 24. There was a horse in the Dominican Republic (Sicotico) that won 24 races in a row, so I would love to match him.”
Trainer William Campbell will saddle Cooper County in the Laurel race. He trains Smiling Jordan, who made serious bids on the final turn against Rapid Redux in his last two races at Charles Town but had to settle for second.
“I don’t see how I can beat him,” Campbell said. “Seven furlongs is a little too far for that horse of mine. The only reason he’s in there is it’s the only race I could find for him.”
The two other runners in the race are Shordawatyadring, winner of the Maryland Million Starter Handicap at Laurel and a seven-furlong specialist, and Rich Hero, a recent claim by trainer Jamie Ness.
The race will be shown live on HRTV, which covers Laurel racing. Post time is 3:47 p.m. EDT.