Fan Club

“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

Cody’s Wish Wins 2022 Secretariat Vox Populi Award

Cody’s Wish, the talented 4-year-old colt who shares an endearing bond with teenager Cody Dorman, has been voted the winner of the 2022 Secretariat Vox Populi Award. Created by Secretariat’s owner Penny Chenery, the annual award recognizes the horse whose popularity and racing excellence best resounded with the public and gained recognition for Thoroughbred racing.

Owned by Godolphin, trained by Bill Mott, and ridden throughout the year by Junior Alvarado, Cody’s Wish and his special story have gained affection and admiration that transcend the sport of racing. On the track, Cody’s Wish’s 2022 accomplishments featured four victories in five starts, including impressive performances in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and Forego Stakes. In addition to his racing success, it was his continuing connection with his now 16-year-old namesake Cody Dorman, who lives with a rare genetic disorder, that captured fans’ hearts and an abundance of Vox Populi votes.

In 2018, Richmond, Kentucky native Dorman was offered a tour of Godolphin’s Gainsborough Farm as part of Keeneland’s Make-A-Wish Day. Dorman’s condition, Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome, renders him unable to speak and relegates him to a wheelchair. During Dorman’s visit to the farm, an inquisitive six-month-old foal walked over to young Cody and put his head in the boy’s lap. And with that, the bay colt earned his name: Cody’s Wish. Nearly four years later, the special bond and sweet interactions between the two continue, including just days before this year’s Breeder’s Cup when the now grown-up and strapping racehorse reconnected with his longtime pal.

“Cody’s Wish and his namesake Cody Dorman forged an instant bond that would grow to connect millions of fans to their inspiring story of hope and determination,” said Kate Chenery Tweedy, daughter of Penny Chenery. “Not only did Cody’s Wish win the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, as Cody predicted, but both Cody’s won the hearts of people everywhere. Their uplifting story exemplifies the best ideals of the Vox Populi Award, just as Mom wished.”

Godolphin Farm added, “We at team Godolphin are delighted that Cody’s Wish was voted by the fans to be the recipient of the 2022 Vox Populi award. The story of the two Cody’s bond for each other since the foal, Cody’s Wish and the boy, Cody Dorman first met in 2018 is a magical one, culminating with the star athlete and the young man sharing the winners circle at the Breeders’ Cup.”

Cody’s Wish, by leading sire Curlin and out of the Tapit mare Dance Card, clearly embodies the meaning of vox populi, Latin for “voice of the people.” The fifth-generation great-grandson of Secretariat garnered thousands of votes in the online public poll while besting the other 2022 nominees: the undefeated Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Flightline, and Rich Strike, the 80-1 longshot winner of the 2022 Kentucky Derby.

Nominees for the award were submitted by the Vox Populi Committee, comprised of distinguished personalities from within and outside the racing industry. Voters also had the option to write in their own favorite candidate to recognize other exceptional horses.

As the 2022 winner, Cody’s Wish joins the celebrated roster of racing stars who previously received the Vox Populi Award: Hot Rod Charlie (2022), Authentic (2020), Bricks and Mortar (2019), Winx (2018), Ben’s Cat (2017), California Chrome (2016 and 2014), American Pharoah (2015), Mucho Macho Man (2013), Paynter (2012), Rapid Redux (2011), and inaugural winner Zenyatta (2010).



A Personal Message from the Cody Dorman Family:

“We would like to extend our most heartfelt congratulations for winning the Vox Populi Award to a very special friend and horse that’s not only dear to our hearts but to so many people around the globe as well. Thank you Cody’s Wish for not only having the heart of a warrior on the track but even more so for having a heart of gold off of it.

You have not only inspired an amazing young man in Cody Dorman but you’ve touched the hearts of thousands of people in many walks of life. You’ve provided tears of joy, warmed hearts and provided a simple smile to so many.

Congratulations to Godolphin, and everyone involved in the care and training of Cody’s Wish. And all of the people surrounding this magical story. And yes that includes everyone that’s supported and cheered on Cody’s Wish! This is what makes this award even more special.

The love shown between Cody and Cody’s Wish is such a blessing. A blessing that shown up when nobody knew it was coming. An instant blessing between a special boy and a special horse that will be cherished for years to come.

God Bless you Cody’s Wish. You’ll forever be in the hearts of many.”

~ Your friend for life Cody Dorman & family, Kylie, Leslie & Kelly


2010 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 – President of Select Films and producer of 2010 Disney Studio’s film “Secretariat”
Bob Curran – Former Vice President of Corporate Communications for The Jockey Club
Steve Haskin – Racing historian and former journalist for Blood-Horse Magazine
Jack Knowlton – Operating Manager of Sackatoga Stable 
Laffit Pincay III – NBC and Fox Sports Horse Racing Analyst
Amy Zimmerman – Executive Producer, HRTV and Producer for NBC and ESPN racing telecasts
Brian Zipse – Senior writer for Horse Racing Nation and Host of HorseCenter


Signup for the newsletter For new announcements, merchandise updates and other excitement here at, please enter your email address in the popup window. Our mailing list is never sold or viewed by anyone other than