Edited Press Release
Triple Crown champion American Pharoah, who was the first ever winner of Thoroughbred racing’s “Grand Slam” with his win in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, has been selected to receive the 2015 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.
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. The Zayat Stables homebred was one of a select group of nominees submitted by the Vox Populi Committee and Penny Chenery, owner of Triple Crown champion Secretariat in whose name she established the award in 2010.
In the honor’s true spirit of celebrating fan favorites, several other popular horses received a groundswell of write-in support, including former Vox Populi nominee and recently departed champion Shared Belief.
American Pharoah’s victorious Triple Crown campaign was the first in 37 years and added his name to an elite list of only 11 other horses in history to win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes. Then just a few months later, the bay champion thrilled both the record multitude at Keeneland and the largest Breeders’ Cup television audience in 20 years when he won the Breeders’ Cup Classic by 6 1/2 lengths.
Sports media have dubbed the sum of these four hallmark wins as Thoroughbred racing’s first ever “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.”
Jockey Victor Espinoza and trainer Bob Baffert guided American Pharoah during his history-making career, with earnings totaling almost $8.7 million and nine wins in 11 starts. American Pharoah has been retired and will stand at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud near Versailles, Kentucky.
“American Pharoah is a horse of a lifetime, and we have been blessed to have bred him,” owner Ahmed Zayat said. “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. 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.”
Zayat Stables’ Paynter received the Vox Populi Award in 2012, and American Pharoah joins other previous winners California Chrome (2014), Mucho Macho Man (2013), Rapid Redux (2011) and Zenyatta (inaugural 2010).
Chenery will present the custom-made Vox Populi trophy to the American Pharaoh team on January 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.
American Pharoah photo courtesy of Keeneland/Coady Photography