“Vox Populi” Award
Secretariat “Vox Populi” Award 2015 Nominees Set, Voting Now Open
Online voting is now open for the sixth 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.
Three 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: American Pharoah, history’s 12th Triple Crown champion and winner of the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic who recently retired with nine wins in 11 starts; Beholder, the two-time Eclipse Award winning racemare whose undefeated 2015 campaign included a commanding victory over her male contenders in the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic — the first ever win in that race for a female; and Rachel’s Valentina, the 2-year-old filly and daughter of racing royalty Rachel Alexandra whose fairy-tale backstory and much anticipated racing debut was furthered by an impressive win in the Spinaway Stakes that catapulted her to stardom.
The list of previous Vox Populi winners reads as a who’s who among the sport’s contemporary superstars and fan favorites: California Chrome (2014), Mucho Macho Man (2013), Paynter (2012), Rapid Redux (2011), and 2010 inaugural winner Zenyatta.
“The sport of Thoroughbred racing obviously has had much to celebrate this year,” said Mrs. Chenery. “We hope the Vox Populi Award continues to be the perfect opportunity for fans to show their affection and toast the noble efforts of all the equine athletes who have captured our hearts during the racing season.”
The winner will be selected on the equally weighted basis of the public online poll as well as input from Mrs. Chenery and 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. Voting in the online poll, which can be found at Secretariat.com, ends Dec. 6, with the public presentation to the 2015 winner scheduled for Jan. 9, 2016, at Santa Anita Park.
Q & A with Penny Chenery about the Secretariat “Vox Populi” Award
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 – 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