Paynter wins 2012 Secretariat Vox Populi
Paynter, the inspiring Haskell Stakes winner whose impressive 2012 season was
marked with on-track thrills and courageous health battles, has been selected to
receive the 2012 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.
|Paynter's fight for life captured the hearts of racing fans
(Jessie Holmes/EquiSport Photos)
Paynter was a late entry in the selection process when racing fans
passionately noted his absence from the original list of nominees. In response,
Mrs. Penny Chenery, who established the award in 2010, and the Vox Populi
Committee made the decision to add Paynter as a contender. As thousands voted in
the online poll, Paynter emerged as the consensus choice among the three
determining bodies -- online voters, the committee and Mrs. Chenery --edging out
Frankel and I'll Have Another.
Paynter exploded onto the racing scene early this year when his maiden
performance prompted owner Zayat Stables and trainer Bob Baffert to send the
stunning colt on the Kentucky Derby trail. His thrilling near-miss second in the
Belmont Stakes and brilliant performance in the Grade 1 Haskell Stakes further
impressed fans and racing analysts, but it has been his tenacious battles with
health issues, including laminitis, and Zayat Stables' continued updates of his
progress through social media that captured the attention of the racing
community and fans all over the world.
Laminitis is a painful disease that attacks the sensitive inner tissue of
hooves. Secretariat and 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro both died as a result
of this serious condition. Veterinary specialists say that Paynter was able to
beat the disease, and it is hoped he will be able to return to racing in 2013 as
he continues to gain weight and his health improves
"Paynter's popularity stems from his ability to battle and exceed
expectations, making him the perfect choice as the recipient of this year's Vox
Populi Award," Mrs. Chenery said. "After seeing firsthand the devastating
effects of this disease, I am even more convinced that the industry must
continue to diligently fight laminitis. The progress we have made to date
clearly benefited Paynter -- a beautiful colt with a tremendous spirit."
Mrs. Chenery will present the custom-made Vox Populi trophy to Paynter's
connections, including Baffert and jockeys Rafael Bejarano and Mike Smith, at
Santa Anita Park on December 29.
For more information about the Secretariat Vox Populi Award, visit
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 Horse.
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