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

Five Nominees Vie for 14th Annual Award

Online voting is now open to select the winner of the 14th annual Secretariat Vox Populi Award. Created by Secretariat’s late owner Penny Chenery, the Vox Populi, or “Voice of the People,” Award annually recognizes the racehorse whose popularity and racing excellence best resounded with the public and gained recognition for the sport.

Through online voting at, fans can vote for one of the five candidates selected by the Vox Populi nominating committee, or write in their own favorite. The poll is open through Dec. 3, with the winner to be announced in December. The Vox Populi trophy presentation is planned for January 13, 2024 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.

The nominees for the 2023 award are: Arcangelo, winner of the 2023 Belmont and Travers Stakes and the first horse to win a Triple Crown race with a female trainer; Casa Creed, the seasoned turf veteran and winner of the Kelso Stakes and Fourstardave Handicap, who at the age of seven continued to thrill fans and demonstrate his heart and resilience; Cody’s Wish, 2022 Secretariat Vox Populi recipient whose four wins in five starts this year as a five-year-old included the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, and who shared an endearing and enduring connection with his namesake, the late Cody Dorman; Echo Zulu, the courageous 2021 champion juvenile filly and former Secretariat Vox Populi nominee who battled back to form in 2023 with impressive victories in each of her three stakes starts before suffering a career-ending injury, from which she battles back once again on her road to recovery; and White Abarrio, the eye-catching gray four-year-old comeback colt who capped off a remarkable racing resurrection with scintillating victories in the 2023 Whitney Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Classic.

“Just as Mom envisioned, the Secretariat Vox Populi Award continues to celebrate horses who have excited and inspired fans throughout the year, and it’s wonderful to see that the 2023 candidates include both familiar favorites and engaging new nominees,” said Kate Chenery Tweedy, daughter of Secretariat’s late owner Penny Chenery. “In this 50th anniversary year of Secretariat’s Triple Crown, it has been especially heartwarming to see that his popularity remains so strong, and his legacy continues to thrive through this award named in his honor.”

The list of previous Vox Populi winners reads as a who’s who among the sport’s contemporary superstars and beloved equine heroes: Cody’s Wish (2022), 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.

For more information on candidates view “Strong Group of Vox Populi Nominees” by Steve Haskin 



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 (abstained from nominee selection this year)
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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