By Blood-Horse Staff
Triple Crown winner American Pharoah has been selected to receive the 2015 Secretariat Vox Populi, or "Voice of the People," Award.
Conceived in 2010 by Penny Chenery, who raced and managed Secretariat's career, the award yearly recognizes "the horse whose popularity and racing excellence best resounded with the American public and gained recognition for Thoroughbred racing."
Zayat Stables' homebred American Pharoah was the clear favorite among the voters in the Vox Populi online poll, recording the largest margin of victory in the award's existence.
"In the honor's true spirit of celebrating fan favorites, several other popular horses received a groundswell of write-in support, including the former Vox Populi nominee and recently departed champion Shared Belief," a release on the Secretariat.com website said.
Chenery will present the custom-made Vox Populi trophy to the American Pharaoh team on Jan. 9 at Santa Anita Park. In conjunction with the presentation, a special Vox Populi poster give-away and autograph signing will be offered to the public.
After becoming racing's 12th Triple Crown winner, American Pharoah put on an impressive display for the largest Breeders' Cup television audience in 20 years when he won the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) by 6 1/2 lengths. The Classic victory combined with the Triple Crown gave the 3-year-old a sweep of what has been dubbed the "grand slam."
"American Pharoah's 2015 racing campaign was a true gift to the fans inside and outside the sport who have been waiting so long for their next Triple Crown champion," Chenery said. "In his efforts, we were able to once again witness greatness, and we were reminded that excellence can still be achieved. This racing hero has inspired a whole new generation of young fans, which I find most exciting for the future of the Thoroughbred racing. I congratulate American Pharoah's team on their amazing year, and I am delighted to present them with the Secretariat Vox Populi Award."
American Pharoah, who has been retired to stand at Ashford Stud near Versailles, Ky., is the second Vox Populi award-winner for Zayat Stables, which campaigned 2012 honoree Paynter .
"American Pharoah is a horse of a lifetime, and we have been blessed to have bred him. His legacy will be forever lasting in my mind and in my heart and I am so happy that he was able to give a thrill to all of his fans and racing as a whole," said owner Ahmed Zayat. "His greatness has been defined, his place in history has been secured. The love he has given us has been boundless. We knew he was special from the moment he first stepped onto the track, and we were so fortunate to watch him fulfill his destiny. I thank the racing fans who have been so supportive during this past year and as the recipient of this wonderful award for the second time after my beloved Paynter, it makes it even more special. My team and I are especially honored and deeply moved."
In addition to American Pharoah and Paynter, joins previous winners are California Chrome (2014), Mucho Macho Man (2013), Rapid Redux (2011), and Zenyatta (inaugural 2010).