Secretariat

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

2022 Secretariat Vox Populi Award  – Winner to be Announced Dec. 4

Voting is now closed for the 13th annual Secretariat Vox Populi Award. Created by Secretariat’s late 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.

Fans were able to vote in the online poll at Secretariat.com for one of three nominees selected by the Vox Populi Committee. Voters also have the option to write in a racehorse of their choice. The winning recipient will be announced live at approximately 6:30 p.m. EST on the FanDual TV network on Dec. 4. The Vox Populi trophy presentation is scheduled to take place at Santa Anita Park on Jan. 14.

This year, three horses distanced themselves from the rest of the nominee contender pack. The 2022 nominees are: Cody’s Wish, the talented 4-year-old colt whose win in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile was his fourth in five starts this year, and who shares a heart-warming and celebrated bond with his namesake, teenager Cody Dorman; Flightline, the spectacular 4-year-old colt whose electrifying performances winning the Metropolitan Mile, the Pacific Classic by 19¼ lengths and the Breeders’ Cup Classic capped off an undefeated season and an unprecedented racing career; and Rich Strike, the 3-year-old colt and sensational 80-1 longshot winner of the Kentucky Derby whose rags-to-riches story and unheralded connections sparked hope for underdogs everywhere.

“All three of these nominees are definitely talented athletes in their own individual ways as well as fan favorites that have brought heart-warming stories and interest to the sport,” said Kate Chenery Tweedy, family historian and daughter of Penny Chenery. “Fan engagement is the name of the game—and that was Mom’s vision for the Vox Populi Award and any of these horses would be a worthy recipient.”

The three nominees were selected by a committee comprised of several distinguished personalities from within and outside the racing industry who all share a keen interest and affection for the sport.

The list of previous Vox Populi winners reads as a who’s who among the sport’s contemporary superstars and beloved equine heroes: Hot Rod Charlie (2021), 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 2010 inaugural winner Zenyatta.  

Read “A Terrific Trio of Finalists for 2022 Vox Populi Award” to learn more about this year’s nominees.

THANK YOU FOR VOTING! WINNER TO BE ANNOUNCED SUNDAY, DEC. 4. AT APPROXIMATELY 6:30 P.M EST ON THE FANDUAL TV NETWORK

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


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