Secretariat “Vox Populi” Award Finalists Announced

When the announcement of the finalists for the Secretariat “Vox Populi” Award was made recently, the response from horse racing fans was almost immediate…

While most agreed that the choice of finalists was justified, it was widely asserted that two of the most deserving candidates had been overlooked – Paynter and Shackleford. With Vox Populi meaning “voice of the people” or “the opinion of the majority”, the people had spoken and organizers took note, so Paynter and Shackleford were added to the existing list of five candidates – I’ll Have Another, Royal Delta, Frankel, Wise Dan and Shanghai Bobby – giving horseracing fans seven candidates to choose from in the public online poll, with voting ending on Sunday, December 23 and the award presentation taking place at Santa Anita Park on December 29, 2012.

When Penny Chenery established the Secretariat “Vox Populi” Award in 2010 she noted that achievements can be measured in many ways and that the horse racing industry has awards for outstanding accomplishments, but she felt that the ‘star horse who brings the most excitement and attention to the sport’ should also be acknowledged. She further went on to say that it was her 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’. Celebrated champion Zenyatta received the inaugural Secretariat “Vox Populi” Award, with last year’s award going to Rapid Redux – an amazing racehorse who retired with 22 consecutive wins on his record.

Foaled in February 2008, British Thoroughbred racehorse Frankel remained unbeaten in his fourteen-race career and was ranked first in the World Thoroughbred Rankings in 2011, with his other awards including European Horse of the Year (2011 & 2012), European Champion Two-Year-Old Colt (2010), European Champion Three-Year-Old Colt (2011), European Champion Older Horse (2012) and has a Timeform rating of 147. North American Thoroughbred race horse I’ll Have Another was foaled in April 2009. His major wins include the Santa Anita Derby, Robert B. Lewis Stakes, Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, all in 2012.

Foaled in March 2009, and the son of champion Awesome Again, Paynter’s resilience in overcoming the obstacle of a potentially debilitating illness endeared him to the public as they followed his story. The highlight of Paynter’s year was his Haskell Stakes win. Shackleford, foaled in February 2008, is the 2011 Preakness Stakes winner, with other major wins including the Churchill Downs Stakes, Metropolitan Handicap and Clark Handicap, all in 2012.