MICHELE NORRIS, host:

Now an introduction to the fastest racehorse you've likely never heard of. Got Country Grip, or just Grip for short, is a Paint horse from Texas. Paint horses are sprinters with at least one patch of a distinctive solid white marking. Grip is undefeated with 14 consecutive wins and he is closing in on the record of 16 in a row.

Here's NPR's Wade Goodwyn.

WADE GOODWYN: Jimmy Maddox is a big old cowboy in a big cowboy hat. He spent his life raising cattle and selling farm and oil well equipment.

Mr. JIMMY MADDOX (Owner, Got Country Grip): I never owned a horse until about 10 years ago.

GOODWYN: That's when Maddox and a young trainer, who was talented but poor, went into horseracing together. Brandon Parum worked at the local feed store when Jimmy Maddox staked him to the cost of a couple of horses. It didn't take long for them to start winning money. Then, four years ago, Maddox got a call that would change his life. Parum has just traded two fillies and $4,000 for a colt named Got Country Grip. But when Jimmy Maddox first set eyes on his new horse, he thought they have been cheated.

Mr. MADDOX: Well, I thought I had messed up because, you know, he'd been weaned and he went through all that stress. He had snotty nose, a little sick. And I thought, Boy, did I give a good grey filly away.

GOODWYN: But over the next three months, the snot nosed colt underwent an amazing transformation in the green pastures of north Texas.

Mr. MADDOX: And I kept telling Brandon, I call him daily, man, you're not going to believe this colt when you see him. I said he's got humongous.

(Soundbite of a horse walking)

GOODWYN: Trainer Brandon Parum is standing next to Got Country Grip in his stall. The more Parum answers questions - speaking into the long microphone -the less the horse likes it that he's not the one being talked to. Grip begins to lean forward, putting his mouth next to the black microphone.

Finally, it begins to dawn exactly what Grip is doing. He wants superstar treatment. Big, fat, softball questions. Got Country Grip, are you the fastest horse ever?

(Soundbite of horse snorting)

(Soundbite of laughter)

GOODWYN: You are the fastest horse ever?

(Soundbite of horse snorting)

Mr. BRANDON PARUM (Horse trainer): That's his trademark, right there. He - that snort and whenever we unload him off the trailer to ride him, he'll get off the trailer with his tail up and just go to snort and just like that. He likes to tell everybody he's there.

(Soundbite of laughter)

GOODWYN: Paint horses, like Quarter horses and Appaloosas, are sprinters. They run 350 to 400 yards straight down the backstretch. Thoroughbreds, in contrast, are middle-distance runners, 800-meter horses or milers, going once around the track at the big races like the Kentucky Derby.

Mr. DALE DAY (Announcer, Remington Park): And they're off and the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum stake...

GOODWYN: At a big race at Remington Park in late April, Got Country Grip did not get off to a good start.

But when you've got the kind of raw speed that this horse has, it doesn't matter.

Mr. DAY: Got Country Grip now in control. Got Country Grip impressive as always.

GOODWYN: In his 12th race, Got Country Grip proved, in a somewhat horrifying way, just what an incredible horse he is. Coming out of the gate, he collided with another horse and was stepped on. His right rear horseshoe was torn off, and with it went half of Got Country Grip's hoof. But the horse regained his stride, exploded down the track and incredibly won by a full length.

Mr. DAY: This horse wins by four, five, six lengths, which is the equivalent of probably 20 lengths and more in Thoroughbred racing. So he's astounding to watch. Usually, his races are over after 50 to 100 yards.

GOODWYN: Dale Day is the announcer at Remington Park in Oklahoma City. He's seen Got Country Grip race repeatedly, and he thinks Grip may be the best Paint racer there's ever been.

Mr. DAY: Horse racing world and folks have not seen this horse. They need to try and get a look at him if he's coming to a racetrack near them because he is spectacular.

GOODWYN: Got Country Grip is like a boxer who dominates his weight class and must move up to find a worthy foe. His owners are considering running their horse against the champion Quarter horse in a match race - one on one. But that's not going to happen until Grip breaks the all-time record of 16 consecutive victories held by Cigar and Citation, that is if he can break the record, not to jinx him.

Got Country Grip's next race is scheduled for July in Tulsa.

Wade Goodwyn, NPR News, Dallas.

NORRIS: And you can watch the video of Got Country Grip winning an earlier race in Tulsa this year. That's at npr.org.

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