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Dueling Down The Stretch

Horse of the Year: Can Redux Rise to the Occasion?

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?


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Older Comments about Horse of the Year: Can Redux Rise to the Occasion?...

I know I said this before but for all whom really appreciate and love this sport, what are the chances of seeing a horse at any level accomplish what Rapid has done? He should definately be honored for his accomplishments and what a way to end his career with some achievement award etc...we may only get to see him race a few more times according to his connections.
  • just nancy · Consistency wins the race, no bad races, no losses, no break downs or injuries. He is deserving as any for HOTY · 2169 days ago
Rapid Redux is already in the history books--and deserves special notice at the Eclipse Awards and in other venues, and should never be forgotten. I would love to see him retired as soon as it makes sense to the Kentucky Horse Park. But Horse of the Year--even in a muddled year, does not make sense--simply because he is not at the class level to have made his record against the other contenders for HOY--almost certainly. We love him, though!! Great to see his sort in these modern times. In some ways, he is MY Horse of the Year!
While I feel Rapid Redux should be recognized at the Eclipse Awards for his accomplishment, I do not believe that he deserves HOY because of the level of competition/races he has participated in. My vote would go for Havre de Grace. This year she won 5 races--3 GI and 2 G2 that included a win in the Woodward against the boys. Her only defeats were in the G2 Delaware Handicap by a nose to the great Blind Luck and a fourth place finish in the BC Classic. In the Classic, she overcame traffic problems, being bumped and was still finishing strongly in the end, so her loss was respectable. Curlin won HOY honors in 2008 with a similiar record: 5 wins/4 GI and one ungraded race in Dubai, a second in the Man o' War and a fourth place finish in the BC Classic. Now, I realize that one of Curlin's wins came in the Dubai World Cup--a race that adds extra points to ones resume when reviewing championship honors, but we have to keep in mind the type of year it has been in 2011. Havre de grace's record has been solid and consistent ALL year, so I hope the voters recognize this and give her the year end honors.
He should get some sort of award at the Eclipse awards, but surely NOT HOY
He does have some admirable qualities to him, however, while this year was and still is muddled, the two horses I mentioned above him were pictures of consistency. I do think he deserves his due, but not HOTY
It is pretty cool that he won his 20 races within 12 months, & it took Zenyatta 4 years to win her 19. He is an iron horse who brings his lunch pail with him everyday.
He definitely deserves to be acknowledged for everything that he has accomplished. Even though he certainly has done more in terms of consistency and versatility than most, it is unlikely that he will get much consideration for HOTY despite what we think.
He deserves to be acknowledged for sure! What he has done, physically, is nothing short of amazing and the horse has enough heart to carry a freight train. Did you see him last night when any challenge was thrown? No way he was getting beat. So yes, he deserves something...but not HOTY.
should take NTRA's moment of the year, not horse of the year
Does not deserve anything for beating allowance/claiming horses. If he raced in an allowance race in NY he wouldn't come in the money. In a claiming race might hit the board. His race times and Beyer numbers speak for themselves.
No, he doesn't deserve consideration for HOY, but maybe some sort of lifetime achievement honor rewarding everything accomplished this year. If anyone should be considered for HOY that's been running in restricted races its My Miss Aurelia.

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Meet Laura Pugh

Laura Pugh got her first taste of Thoroughbred Racing when she watched War Emblem take the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2001. After that point, she fell in love with the sport, reading every piece of news and information she could get her fingertips on.

Laura has a long history with horses in general, taking her first ride on her fifth birthday, with her first official riding lesson when she was eight years old. Both years she attended college she joined her school’s equestrian team, first at the now closed Virginia Intermont College, then again at Delaware State University. Unfortunately, after back and shoulder injuries, she had to hang up her saddle. 

In 2010 Laura came to Horse Racing Nation, but soon branched out to other media outlets, such as Lady and the Track,, and USRacing. She currently works at a local newspaper as a community reporter, while making a return to Horse Racing Nation, where she will once again feature her opinionated columns on the latest in horse racing. 

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