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Record-setting Rapid Redux blue-collar hero

Rapid Redux has won 20 races in a row, 18 of them in 2011. For my money, this 5-year-old gelding is a better poster child for horse racing than a Rachel Alexandra or a Zenyatta. Sound crazy? Sure, but there’s a reason why.

Rapid Redux is a fantastic story to move racing forward because he is a former claiming horse who almost anyone could have bought.

His owner, Robert Cole, claimed Rapid Redux for $6,250 on Oct. 13, 2010. An average used car costs more than that. Five friends kicking in $1,250 apiece could have bought him. He has earned more than $225,000 since.

The 20 straight wins is a modern-day record. Cole is hoping to start, and win, two more races this year to beat the single-season mark of 19 wins in one year set by the immortal Citation.

Rapid Redux might not be remembered as fondly as John Henry or Stymie. However, when you buy a low-priced claiming horse, you’re just hoping to win a race or two and maybe break even. Rapid Redux has exceeded that.

The chances of common folk like us owning a Rachel Alexandra or Zenyatta is zero. But anyone off the street can take a shot at a horse like Rapid Redux and hope to get lucky. That dream, that amazing vision, is good for racing.

Horse racing does not have a horse shortage but an owner shortage. If more people wanted to get involved in ownership, trainers and bloodstock agents would find good horses to buy and claim.

Meanwhile, there is growing sentiment to support Rapid Redux for Horse of the Year. Personally, I won’t go there. I think Eclipse Award champions should compete at the top end of the game. I suspect even Cole would admit Rapid Redux is no champion.

What he is is a consistent, hard-knocking horse that trainer David Wells has managed beautifully. Cole and Wells have no illusions of class other than dominating $5,000 starter allowance foes.

As a gelding, Rapid Redux should have more productive years ahead of him. And while the streak will end some day, the enduring image of Rapid Redux is of a blue-collar, hard-trying hero who never cheated his connections or the public.

■ SUTHERLAND APPEARANCE — A reminder that top female rider Chantal Sutherland will appear at a free meet-and-greet at the South Point race book at noon Wednesday.

■ SAM’S TOWN QUALIFIER — A one-day qualifier for the Horseplayer World Series will be held at Sam’s Town on Dec. 8. Entry fee is $100.

Richard Eng’s horse racing column is published Friday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He can be reached at rich_eng@hotmail.com. Follow him on Twitter: @richeng4propick.

 

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