Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome has been voted the fifth annual Secretariat 'Vox Populi' Award. The winning horse was determined through online voting as well as consensus from the 'Vox Populi' Committee and input from Mrs. Penny Chenery who owned two-time Horse of the Year Secretariat.
The Secretariat 'Vox Populi,' or "Voice of the People," Award is given to a horse "whose popularity and racing excellence best resounded with the American public and gained recognition for thoroughbred racing."
California Chrome, owned by Steve Coburn and Perry Martin, strung together five straight wins to begin 2014 including victories in the Santa Anita Derby and the first two legs of the Triple Crown. However, his try at becoming the first Triple Crown winner since 1978 failed when he finished in a dead heat for fourth behind Tonalist in the Belmont Stakes.
Trained by Art Sherman, the 3-year-old chestnut colt returned with a sixth- place finish to Bayern in the Pennsylvania Derby and was third behind Bayern in the Breeders' Cup Classic. Ridden by Victor Espinoza, California Chrome found the winner's circle in the Hollywood Derby on Del Mar's turf course.
"This is such an amazing honor and we are so grateful to receive this award from Mrs. Chenery and the fans," Coburn said. "We have always said Chrome is the 'People's Horse' and we are thrilled that the public feels the same way we do about him."
"Everyone loves a Cinderella story, and this one was no exception," said Mrs. Chenery. "California Chrome, a proven champion and formidable competitor, reminded us that it doesn't matter from whence we came but rather how we dance when we get to the ball. Furthermore, his inspiring story and engaging popularity reached beyond the racetrack stands and into the conversation of a nation. I am looking forward to seeing California Chrome build upon his success during his 4-year-old season."
The award presentation will be held on Saturday, Jan. 10 at Santa Anita
The previous Vox Populi winners were Mucho Macho Man (2013), Paynter (2012), Rapid Redux (2011) and Zenyatta (inaugural 2010).