Who would have though a gelding competing in starter allowances would cause such an enormous uproar in America? Well, Rapid Redux managed to do just that when he broke the modern American win streak last night, Thursday, November 21, 2011. The record was held by America’s sweetheart, the great mare, Zenyatta and Peppers Pride, another mare at 19 consecutive victories. Thursday night at Mountaineer, Rapid Redux made what seemingly was an impossible task, look easy. Now, with his victory not only are some calling for him to be nominated to the Horse of the Year ballot, but are actually saying he should be our Horse of the Year. Should he?
2011 has been a crazy year since the season started in January. The male classic runner to even put back to back stakes win together was Animal Kingdom with wins in the Spiral and Kentucky Derby. He was sidelined later that year, as was First Dude, the first older male to win back to back graded stakes routing. Then we lost Tizway, the first to put together consecutive grade one wins together, in the division. Havre de Grace and Game on Dude are your leading candidates for the year, both having great years, but both falling short in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, the race that was supposed to decide it all.
Game on Dude was the picture of inconsistency, until Bob Baffert decided the colt needed a woman’s touch and let Chantal Sutherland aboard. With her in the saddle the colt finished worse than second only once, on the quircky Del Mar poly, running in the Pacific Classic. Other than that Chantal rode him to wins in the Santa Anita Handicap and Goodwood, while notching runner-up efforts in the Hollywood Gold Cup and Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Havre de Grace, a filly was easily the best among her own peers and ventured out of her comfort zone to defeat males in the Woodward Stakes, where she notched her second grade one victory and fourth graded stakes win. She went on to win the Beldame, another grade one, only to finish fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. She’s had a spectacular year, with that being her only “bad race.”
Rapid Redux has not faced, nor has he even come close to eyeing the class the two above him have run against, but one thing he has done is win, and win, and win. Running in starter allowances may not be the ideal route if one is looking for Horse of the Year consideration, but that seems to be the situation here. While blue collar gelding has race in restricted company, never winning a stakes, what he has managed is to race, and win, roughly every two and a half weeks. An average stakes horse runs every month to six weeks. He has managed to win at seven different distances, when ordinarily stakes runners stay at a specialized distance. He has managed to win at six different tracks, when typically stakes horses tend to stick to three or four specific tracks. He may have only accomplished one great thing, but that one big feat could be bigger than what any other American starter has done this year.
So, what is the verdict? Does he deserve consideration? Does he deserve the award? Or, should he simply be forgotten?