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Mucho Macho Man wins Vox Populi Award


Mucho Macho Man, the tenacious 5-year-old winner of the Breeders’ Cup Classic, has been selected to receive the 2013 Secretariat Vox Populi, or “Voice of the People,” Award. The award recognizes the horse whose popularity and racing excellence best resounded with the American public and gained recognition for Thoroughbred racing.

Mucho Macho Man was the unanimous favorite among the three deciding bodies: fans in the online vote, the Vox Populi Committee and Mrs. Penny Chenery, who established the award in 2010. Fan interest was at record levels this year with thousands voting in the online poll and some submitting noteworthy write-in votes.

But it was Mucho Macho Man who had emerged as the clear choice when voting ended on Dec. 21. Earlier in the year, Mucho Macho Man, who carries the colors of Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, was sidelined for five months as he fought both bacterial and viral infections. Still, the strapping bay’s earnings for 2013 were nearly $3 million with only five starts, and his impressive wins in the Grade I Awesome Again Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup Classic propelled him into the limelight and further enhanced his popularity among racing fans.

Mucho Macho Man’s Breeders’ Cup win was a comeback highlight for both his trainer Kathy Ritvo, who has endured several health issues in recent years including a heart transplant in 2008, and his jockey Gary Stevens, who came out of racing retirement early in 2013 after working in television for eight years and appearing in the movie Seabiscuit.


“It is a great honor to think that a horse with such humble beginnings could intertwine the lives and stories of so many people, and tug at the heartstrings of racing fans from all over the world. We feel truly blessed to be a part of this story and receive this prestigious award on behalf of Mucho Macho Man and our team.” said owners Dean and Patti Reeves.

Mucho Macho Man now joins previous Vox Populi winners Paynter (2012), Rapid Redux (2011) and Zenyatta (inaugural 2010).

“I think we all identified with Mucho Macho Man’s story of overcoming adversity,” said Mrs. Chenery. “It is a classic theme that transcends sports and life and generations. And because he is poised to return in 2014, racing fans will have much to anticipate in this champion Thoroughbred.”

The custom-made Vox Populi trophy will be presented to Mucho Macho Man’s connections in a coast-to-coast ceremony on Jan. 11. Stevens and the Reeves will receive the trophy at Santa Anita Park, while Ritvo and Mucho Macho Man will be recognized during a simultaneous presentation at Gulfstream Park. The connections will be available at their respective locations to sign autographs. Both celebrations will be broadcast live on HRTV.

For more information about the Secretariat Vox Populi Award, visit Secretariat.com, the official website for the legendary Thoroughbred champion. Celebrating racing’s past to enrich its future, Secretariat.com is a comprehensive online source for historical information, photography, merchandise, and memorabilia chronicling the enduring legacy of America’s Super Horse. 


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Older Comments about Mucho Macho Man wins Vox Populi Award...

Cindy. Paynter won last year.
Buckpasser, I wonder if you are correct? "Mrs. Chenery's attempt to institute an award to celebrate a fan favorite who many not win divisional honors" and you wonder, is it about "fan favorites" or Secretariat??? Because already Mucho and Zenyatta have received the Vox Populi and OF COURSE they were going to not only win awards but HOY??? Who has won besides these two and Rapid Redux? On a side note, I'm sorry about New Year's Day having to be retired. Sympathies to the connections.
I love Mucho Macho Man and am glad he won it but he will probably get an eclipse award anyway?
Thank you Brian I really appreciate your comment as I am sure everyone here does as well. I am not being mean spirited about this matter. I understand And appreciate Mrs. Chenery's attempt to institute an award to celebrate a fan favorite who may not win divisional honors. I am sure you will be a real asset on the committee and will help fine tune the decision making process for this award. As I have posted I truly think that there needs to be a write in candidate or candidates from the fans for the final voting slate. While I do understand not making the vote totals public, I think that it is the wrong decision not to. Let's be honest, the first two recipients Zenyatta (for whom the award was created) and Rapid Redux were no brainers. But their misses last year of Paynter and Shackleford were concerning that the committee was completely out of touch. And it does raise questions going forward. I'm sorry to put it that way, but in my mind it does. Once again I do thank you for your comment and look forward to your input next year.
Honestly, I don't even remember who I voted for as I had three favorites (Saginaw, Mucho Macho Man and Paynter) on the poll, if I remember correctly. Any one of those I think was deserving and I have no problem with Mucho Macho Man winning. Quite frankly, I am surprised many are unhappy as Mucho Macho Man has been a very popular racehorse for 2-3 years.
Buckpasser, Although I was not a committee member in 2013, because I will be in 2014, I was given the results of the poll. I can confirm that Mucho Macho Man was in fact the winner of the fan vote. For several reasons, including maintaining the integrity of the single vote per voter spirit, they have decided not to make the results public. As a committee member next year, I will work hard to not only make sure the right horses are on the ballot, but also assist in making the entire process more transparent. I can assure you that the intentions of Ms. Chenery and the committee are nothing if not to celebrate the sport and the equine heroes that we love.
My problem with this award is that it is supposedly from the fans, but the fans get to vote on a slate that is decided on by a committee. The write in vote is only a sop to combat the disaster last year when they failed to nominate both Paynter and Shackleford. The announcement of this years winner highlights the problem: the Committee, Penny Chenery and the fans were unanimous..." What that really means to me is that the Fans' votes only counted for a third of the decision. To me that's not a Vox Populi-- it's not the voice of the fans. I still believe that they solicit votes from the fans, take the top one or two nominees and put them on a slate with a couple of nominees from the committee and Penny. Then submit that slate to the fans for voting.
^^ " ", force them to show a count!
count please
honestly I would like to see a vote count..
Saginaw was my choice, the peoples champion!
I think if the write in vote is to mean anything going forward, then why not make the top vote getter of the write in part of the slate to be voted on to determine the ultimate winner of the Vox Populii. Then it would truly would be the voice of the fans. As it stands now, to me it is not truly representative of the fans. To mike in SB the comments I saw were BEFORE the winner was announced not after.
Yes, good idea, Mike. Vox Populi should mean precisely that; the totals should be a confirmation of the winning choice.
I think you have to trust that if they say Mucho Macho Man got the most fan votes then he really got the most fan votes. If not then the whole award is a joke. Personally I voted for Mucho Macho Man for many of the reasons Penny Chenery has mentioned, it is a great story including the horse and his connections and jockey, and it shows racing in a positive light. More people will comment on the award if they dissagree with the outcome so the number of comments on sites like this does not necessarily mean that he did not win the popular vote. They should release the vote totals so everyone will be satisfied that it is truely a voice of the people award.
It is interesting that in reading other comment pages on different racing websites, out of the Committee slate, he was the most popular BUT not from all of the fan comments that I saw, which supported either a repeat award to Paynter or to Saginaw.
I am sure I will be greatly criticized for this post, but I do not believe that MMM won this award unanimously. I believe he won it from the committee and from Penny, but I believe the write in vote dwarfed the fan vote for MMM. While I like him and think he is a nice horse, I have real problems with this award being titled Vox Populii. After the fiasco last year with Paynter and Shackleford, I believe the last thing that was wanted was another horse winning from the write in vote. Because if this happened, then it is clear that the "committee" choices were clearly out of touch with the racing fans and calling the Award Vox Populii an ironic decision. I think it was clear from Penny Chenery's comments that didn't want this to be the deceased horse award so that negated either Monsanto or the horse I believe May have won the the write in vote, Saginaw. Since the actual announcement on the Secretariat website, states Saginaw received widespread support, I think he had far more support than even what was acknowledged, and if so then this vaunted Vox Populii is charitably speaking out of the loop when it comes to the opinion of the average racing fan. Which is actually pretty clear from their inclusion of Brian on the committee going forward. I truly believe that if this award is "truly" fan based then the committee should be no more that a ministerial group with open admission as to nominees with a tally of the top choices for the fans to vote on. That to me would live up to the so called fan based award.
  • EP Taylor · Buck I agree. I voted for Monzante which someone had written in. I thought that needed some attention and hoped the Vox Populi award would have shed some light on the darker side of the sport. Guess they like to ONLY show the good side. Congrats to Big Mooch, he overcame alot of health issues this year to win the Classic. Very proud of him. · 1390 days ago
MMM has had a tremendous fan following for years!
Should of been Saginaw or Paynter in my opinion or even Wise Dan.
Yesss,awesome Mucho!!<3
Vox Populii/ Horse of the Year/ these are industry awards that have nothing to do with the fans preference, as they're solely arrived at by the representatives (experts) of the various racing sites and magazines which have no guidelines to determine the end result and are accountable to no one. An analogy might be that these awards are democratically arrived at to express the choice of the fans, just as a theological state is democratic, and not a dictatorship of the representatives of almighty God.

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