Secretariat descendants in running for awards

secretariatSeveral descendants of Triple Crown champion Secretariat are in the running for Thoroughbred racing’s most prestigious awards.

Online voting concluded Dec. 17 for the fifth annual Secretariat Vox Populi Award. Created by Secretariat’s owner, Penny Chenery, the Vox Populi or “Voice of the People” Award recognizes the racehorse whose popularity and racing excellence best resonated with the public and gained recognition for the sport during the past year.

This year’s nominees are California Chrome, Shared Belief, Untapable, Wise Dan, Ben’s Cat and Game on Dude. Though a nominee does not have to be related to Secretariat, the first five of those horses have “Big Red” in their pedigrees, according to Leeanne Ladin, Secretariat tourism manager at The Meadow Event Park. Information about the nominees is available at secretariat.com/fan-club/vox-populi-award.

The 2014 winner will be announced on the secretariat.com website on the evening ofDec. 25.

Two Secretariat descendants are strong contenders for the 2014 Eclipse Awards Horse of the Year. They are California Chrome, a Secretariat great-great-great grandson, and Untapable, a Secretariat great-great-great granddaughter. California Chrome won the 2014 Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Hollywood Derby. Untapable won the Kentucky Oaks and Breeders’ Cup Distaff and is undefeated in racing against fillies.

The annual Eclipse Awards are the equivalent of the Oscars for racehorses and their owners, breeders, trainers and jockeys. There are 20 categories, including best 2-year-old and 3 year-old colts and fillies, best older male horse and female horse, best male and female sprinters, best male and female turf horses, and more. The presentations will be made Jan. 17.

January is a milestone month in horse racing for another reason. The Jockey Club Registry deems Jan. 1 as the official date of birth for every Thoroughbred. Because Thoroughbreds are raced according to age—e.g., the kentucky derby is for 3-year-olds—the date eliminates confusion. Secretariat, who was born March 30, 1970 at The Meadow, was officially a year old on Jan. 1, 1971. On Jan. 1, 1972, he was considered 2 years old and eligible to race. In 1973, as a 3-year-old, he won the Triple Crown.

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