Ever since 1975, the public has had an opportunity to express its opinion above and beyond the voices of pundits, critics, and experts. Of course, this is a reference to The People's Choice Awards, which honor those in the entertainment industry who are held in the highest esteem by the public. Many racehorse lovers may not be aware that the same opportunity is available to them as well.
Through November 30, race fans can go to either of two sites to vote for their choice for Horse of the Year in the Secretariat Vox Populi Horse of 2020. Voting is open at secretariat.com and americasbestracing.net.
Five horses have been nominated for this year's honor. They include Whitmore, the seven-year-old gelding who won this year's Breeders' Cup Sprint; Tiz the Law, who scored four straight wins, including the Belmont Stakes; Swiss Skydiver, the first filly in 11 years to win the Preakness in the 2nd fastest time ever; Monomoy Girl, the five-year-old mare who was culminated an undefeated 2020 campaign, including a win at the Breeder's Cup Distaff; and Authentic, who demonstrated just how authentic he is with runaway wins in the Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup Classic.
The Vox Populi popular vote is the brainchild of the late Penny Chenery, the legendary owner famed for bringing Secretariat to the Thoroughbred world. Her goal was to "recognize the racehorse whose popularity and racing excellence best resounded with the public and gained recognition for the sport" during the preceding year.
Kate Chenery Tweedy, the daughter of Penny Chenery, commented on why the award is particularly important on this occasion. "In a peculiar year that upended both the horse racing calendar and its traditions, we still have equine athletes who have persevered and admirably performed, oblivious to human concerns. Each of our Vox Populi nominees has captured the hearts of horse racing fans at a time when we are all in need of inspiration."
The inaugural winner of the Secretariat Vox Populi in 2010 was the acclaimed colt Zenyatta, who is now one of the highest-rated stallions at stud. Other winners include Rapid Redux, Paynter, Mucho Macho Man, American Pharoah, California Chrome (who won it two years in a row), Ben's Cat, Winx, and Bricks and Mortar.
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