(Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club)

By Sandra McKee, The Baltimore Sun

After six months off to recover from the wear and tear of a North American record 22 straight victories, Rapid Redux will be retired next week to Kentucky Horse Park, his owner Robert Cole and trainer David Wells said.

“He’s perfect right now and we want him to stay that way,” said Cole, a Towson native. “Why risk having him get beat.”

Located outside of Lexington, Kentucky Horse Park is home to many famous horses, including Cigar, Da Horse and Funny Cide. John Henry, who was a resident, is buried there.

Rapid Redux was claimed by Cole at Penn National for $6,250 on Oct.13, 2010. He went 19-for-19 in 2011, tying Citation’s national record for wins in a season. His 22 straight wins broke the North American record of 19 previously held by 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta and New Mexico-bred Pepper’s Pride.

Rapid Redux earned those victories at seven tracks and at distances ranging from five furlongs to 1 1/8 miles, under the guidance of seven riders.

Among his awards are an Eclipse Special Award and the Secretariat Vox Populi Award that recognizes a horse who distinguishes himself in the eyes of the public.

Thursday, Rapid Redux’s team also received a Special Award of Merit at the Alibi Breakfast at Pimlico Race Course.

“I’ve been very careful with him over his time off,” Wells said. “I didn’t want to let him out in a big field where he might hurt himself, so I’ve been taking him out, hand walking him, to eat grass. He’s fine, but he ran hard and he’s not quite the same horse, to be honest. He gave us a really fun ride, and I’m glad he’s healthy and we’re letting him go out on top.”