LAUREL, Md., Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Rapid Redux earned both a special Eclipse Award and his 22nd straight win within a span of a few hours Wednesday.
Robert Cole claimed the son of Pleasantly Perfect for $6,250 on Oct. 13, 2010. Since then, the gelding has won 23 of 24 races with earnings of $266,074.
The ongoing victory skein includes 19 wins in calendar year 2011 and organizers of the sport's year-end awards announced early Wednesday that was good enough to earn Rapid Redux a special award for individual achievement.
"The achievements of Rapid Redux in 2011 were remarkable," said Alex Waldrop, president and chief executive officer of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. "Winning 21 consecutive races, including 19 of them in a single year, at distances ranging from 5 furlongs to a mile and an eighth, is something we won't soon again see."
Only hours later, Rapid Redux, who officially turned 6 on Jan. 1, led from start to finish in a starter allowance race at Laurel Park, holding off Awesome Rhythm at the end by 3/4 of a length under some urging by jockey J.D. Acosta.
Illustrating the difficulty of getting a horse to the races 19 times in one year -- let alone winning 19 times -- the gelding had suffered a minor foot injury a few days earlier and Cole had been cautious about committing his star to Wednesday's race.
"It was 30 percent to run yesterday," trainer David Wells said. "We jogged him this morning for the vet and put the hoof testers on and he thought we were going to be OK."
"The math is unbelievable when you think about it," Cole added. "It is tough to win this many in a row. The durability is his greatest trait. He'll keep running as long as he's healthy."
Cole was raised in the area north of Washington, D.C.
"It's fun winning in front of the home crowd," he said. "A lot of my friends are here. I was a bettor for years before I was an owner. I know the people here and it is fun to win with my friends."
Rapid Redux could earn another honor Thursday. He is one of four candidates for the "Vox Populi Award," a "horse of the year" competition involving a fan vote started last year by Secretariat's owner, Penny Chenery. Rapid Redux is a finalist, along with Goldikova, Havre de Grace, and Uncle Mo.