From the covers of national magazines to more recently the silver screen, “America’s Horse” Secretariat captured the heart of a nation. In January of 2011, his celebrated owner, Penny Chenery, announced the creation of the Secretariat “Vox Populi” Award that annually recognizes a horse whose popularity and racing excellence best resounded with the general public and gained recognition for the sport during the past year. The award is the first of its kind in horse racing.
The inaugural winner of the Secretariat Vox Populi or “Voice of the People” Award, was the champion racemare Zenyatta, and last year’s recipient was the tenacious Rapid Redux, who retired with 22 consecutive wins. Mrs. Chenery noted that this year’s nominees also represent diverse achievements and appeal.
The 2012 nominee finalists are: Frankel, Europe’s undefeated Cartier Horse of the Year and Timeform’s highest rated horse in 64 years; I’ll Have Another, the winner of this year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes and earner of $2.63 million in 2012; Royal Delta, who captured a second consecutive win in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic and earned $2 million in 2012; Shanghai Bobby, the 2-year-old who finished the year undefeated in five career starts; and Wise Dan, the Horse of the Year contender who broke a Santa Anita course record in the Breeders’ Cup Mile and accumulated earnings of $2.62 million in 2012.