The awards keep coming in for the blue-collar worker Rapid Redux, who won his 22nd straight race Jan. 5. A day after it was announced that the 5-year-old chestnut would receive the Special Eclipse Award for his accomplishments in 2011, he was named winner of the Secretariat Vox Populi Award.
The unlikely Rapid Redux, competing mostly in starter allowance company for horses that have raced at or below the $5,000 claiming level, tied the great Citation with 19 wins in a single season in 2011. The Secretariat Vox Populi, or “Voice of the People” award, recognizes the horse whose popularity and racing excellence best resounded with the American public and gained recognition for Thoroughbred racing.
Zenyatta won the award for 2010, the first time it was presented.
Against several top contenders, Rapid Reux emerged as the top choice across the board of the three determining bodies: online voters, the Vox Populi Committee, and Mrs. Penny Chenery, Secretariat's former owner who established the award last year. Among thousands of online voters from more than 30 countries, 39% chose Rapid Redux, while the other contenders -- Goldikova, Havre de Grace, and Uncle Mo -- split the remaining votes.
“The goal of Thoroughbred horse racing is to win races,” said Mrs. Chenery in a statement. “In each race, no matter what amount of money the winner receives, what the distance of the race or the surface it is run on, one horse wins. And that's what we are all trying to do with our stable - win races so that feed bills can be paid and the costs of keeping the endeavor afloat can continue.
"Thousands of races are staged in America every year for every level of competition and thousands of horses win them, but rarely the same horse," she continued. "So for one horse to beat his field 19 times in one year is flat out phenomenal. For that we honor Rapid Redux today.
"We also honor his people who put him in a position to win each time, a rare and valuable skill. Rapid Redux and his team are a rare blend of ability and prudence. They never ran him over his head and he never failed to pull it off. Well done to all!”
The custom-made Vox Populi trophy will be awarded Jan. 15 to Rapid Redux’s owner, Robert L. Cole Jr., and trainer, David J. Wells, at Santa Anita Park. The ceremony features an autograph signing, video presentation, and special guest appearance by Hall of Fame jockey Laffit Pincay.