“Vox Populi” Award
“Horse racing already has established avenues to award outstanding accomplishments, and we certainly should honor superior performance. But achievement can be measured in many ways, and fans occasionally feel a disconnect when the horses who most impacted the public are not recognized through the traditional equine awards. The industry is long overdue in annually acknowledging the star horse who brings the most excitement and attention to the sport. It is my hope that the Secretariat “Vox Populi” Award will be an honor that reflects the heart and soul of racing and will help build upon the devotion the public has for a horse they love.”
~ Penny Chenery, 2010
VOTING IS NOW OPEN FOR THE 2016 SECRETARIAT “VOX POPULI” AWARD
Online voting is now open for the seventh annual winner of the Secretariat Vox Populi Award. Created by Secretariat’s owner Penny Chenery, the Vox Populi, or “Voice of the People,” Award recognizes the racehorse whose popularity and racing excellence best resounded with the public and gained recognition for the sport during the past year.
Four nominees were selected by the Vox Populi Committee, and voters again have the option to write-in a racehorse of their choice.
This year’s nominees are: Beholder, the three-time Eclipse Award winning racemare whose brilliant performances earned more than $1.7 million and included a breathtaking win in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff; California Chrome, the recipient of the 2014 Vox Populi Award whose celebrated comeback was highlighted by five wins including the Dubai World Cup, vaulting him to racing’s all-time leading earner; Songbird, the sensational 3-year-old filly who earned $2.2 million in her coast-to-coast campaign and finished just a nose shy of an undefeated season after a Breeders’ Cup Distaff stretch dual for the ages; and Tepin, the Kentucky-bred 5-year-old bay mare who has been an international darling, blazing turf courses on two continents and amassing almost $1.5 million in earnings with five wins in seven starts.
“Thoroughbred racing enjoyed a variety of many thrilling and notable story lines during 2016,” Mrs. Chenery said. “The committee considered many contenders for this year’s award, but our four named nominees outdistanced all the others. They are beloved for their individual contributions to the sport, and each is a captivating standout as we look back at the year.”
The Vox Populi Committee, a group of several distinguished personalities from within and outside the racing industry who all share a keen interest and affection for the sport, also recognized several outstanding candidates who received consideration including Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Arrogate, the courageous 4-year-old filly Lady Eli and social media favorite Juba.
The list of previous Vox Populi winners reads as a who’s who among the sport’s contemporary superstars: American Pharoah (2015), the aforementioned California Chrome (2014), Mucho Macho Man (2013), Paynter (2012), Rapid Redux (2011), and 2010 inaugural winner Zenyatta.
A public presentation to the 2016 Vox Populi winner is scheduled for January 14 at Santa Anita Park.
Polling ends December 16. Let your voice be heard!
What is the Secretariat “Vox Populi” Award?
“Vox Populi” is an age-old Latin expression that literally means “voice of the people.” The award gives recognition to the horse that generated the most fan response during the year.
What motivated you to create the Award?
Racing has an established award system in place that is fundamentally based on past performance. But there is nothing that honors the horse that best captures the attention and affection of the public. The fans are the life-blood of our sport and their collective “voice” deserves to be heard and formally recognized. In the past decade alone, extremely popular horses like Funny Cide, Smarty Jones, and Barbaro all captivated the imagination of the public but were ultimately left unrecognized in terms of traditional divisional year-end honors. How can we, as an industry, expect the rest of the world to embrace our sport when we don’t annually honor our most beloved horses internally?
How will the winner of the Award be decided?
Each year the winner will be selected based upon the horse who most resonates with the public and gains recognition for the sport. I envision a democratic process involving a diverse panel of distinguished racing personalities and representatives, from within and outside the industry, working together in unison with the “voice” of the general public. The selection process will involve the utilization of an open on-line poll to help quantify public opinion.
What is the Secretariat “Vox Populi” Award’s relationship to the Eclipse Awards?
The Eclipse Awards recognizes the “professional’s” choice based upon the evaluation of statistical track performances. The Secretariat “Vox Populi” Award measures the “public’s” choice and their emotional sentiment. While the Secretariat “Vox Populi” Award may or may not be bestowed upon an Eclipse Award candidate, it is simply not concerned or constrained by who beat whom in which race. The Award reflects who the fans were pulling for. And it is not meant to conflict with the Eclipse Awards but to enhance how we honor our racing heroes.
How will the Secretariat “Vox Populi” Award be presented?
An award that speaks for the public should allow the public to participate in its ceremony. It is my hope the presentation to the winner can take place at a public racing venue where fans of any age are invited to come and celebrate the winner’s accomplishments and express their affection with the connections.
What is your future vision for the Secretariat “Vox Populi” Award?
I would like it to provide an ongoing platform for the voice of the fans to honor the horses they love, a touchstone for what they deem best and brightest within our sport.
Secretariat “Vox Populi” Award committee members:
Charlsie Cantey – National television horse racing analyst and commentator
Steve Cauthen – Hall of Fame jockey and 1978 Triple Crown winner aboard Affirmed
Mark Ciardi – Mayhem Pictures, Producer of 2010 Disney Studio’s film “Secretariat”
Bob Curran – Vice President of Corporate Communications for The Jockey Club
Jack Knowlton – Operating Manager of Sackatoga Stable who campaigned Funny Cide
Eric Wing – Former Daily Racing Form Advertising Director
Amy Zimmerman – Executive Producer, HRTV and Producer for NBC and ESPN racing telecasts
Brian Zipse – Managing Editor and columnist for Horse Racing Nation