West Virginia dreamin’ on such a summer’s day.
I know it is not exactly what The Mamas & The Papas may have had in mind, but on this last weekend of the summer, it seems quite apropos. Last night it was Rapid Redux who shifted the attention of many race fans to West Virginia’s Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races. Robert Cole Jr.’s 5-year-old gelding rolled to the early lead under J.D. Acosta and cruised home easily to yet another victory. If you are keeping score at home, the win marks his 17th consecutive victorious trip to the starting gate.
The remarkable streak, which began last December, is now only two shy of the modern North American record for consecutive wins set by Peppers Pride and equaled by Zenyatta. It was the third win at the West Virginia Oval for Rapid Redux, who has now won with seven different jockeys and at seven different racetracks during the streak. Distances of his winning races have ranged from five to nine furlongs, and his winning margins have been by as much as 10 ¾ lengths and as small as a nose.
Sent off as the heavy favorite in the $20,000, 1 1/16-mile starter allowance event, Rapid Redux won last night’s feature at Charles Town by 2 ¾ lengths and completed the distance in 1:45.30. Most of his wins have come in the starter allowance class, so comparing him to the best horses in America might translate into comparing a division II college baseball team with the New York Yankees. But Rapid Redux is not just like any Division II squad, but rather the best Division II baseball team in the last 20 years.
The 17th straight win for Rapid Redux, while remarkable, was only the appetizer to an even bigger night of racing in West Virginia. Tonight, a full field of ten three-year-old fillies are set to do battle in the $400,000 Charles Town Oaks. The 7 furlong Oaks will be the featured event on the track’s third annual Race for the Ribbon card which benefits breast cancer research.
While much of the attention in the excellent race may fall to a pair of graded stakes winners from New York in Hot Summer and Her Smile, I am looking for a Kentucky invader to pull off a bit of a surprise. Groupie Doll, who defeated older fillies and mares in Ellis Park’s $100,000 Gardenia Stakes, enters tonight’s race off a three race win streak.
After a failed race on turf in her debut, the daughter of Bowman’s Band was switched to the dirt by trainer William Bradley for her second race. Since then she is perfect in three races, winning easily by a combined victory margin of nearly 15 lengths, including a three length score in the Gardenia. Owned in partnership by the trainer and his father, she will be ridden by Greta Kuntzweiler for the fifth consecutive time. Since the graded stakes win, Groupie Doll completed her preparation for tonight’s race with a sharp :58.80 workout at Churchill Downs. The Charles Town Oaks, despite being a race restricted to three-year-olds represents an even tougher field than the Gardenia did, but Groupie Doll looks like a filly who could be the real deal.
Post time for the rich race is 10:30pm EST, and just like last night, I’m saying it’s a great night to tune in to the races at Charles Town.