After seeing reaction to their initial five nominees, Penny Chenery and the Secretariat Vox Populi Committee have added two more nominees in Paynter and Shackleford .
A release from the Vox Populi Award said the two new nominees were added following an outpouring of public support, which Mrs. Chenery said should not be ignored in choosing the honoree that reflects the "Voice of the People." The Secretariat Vox Populi Award, which also will accept write-in votes, recognizes the racehorse whose popularity and racing excellence best resounded with the public and gained recognition for the sport during the past year.
The new nominees are Haskell Invitational Stakes (gr. I) winner Paynter, whose year was marked with both on-track thrills and off-track battles to overcome laminitis and other health issues; and Shackleford, the striking Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) winner who competed in many top-level graded stakes races and earned $1.1 million in 2012 alone.
"The people have spoken, and we have heard their voice loud and clear," Chenery said in a release. "The committee and I were both humbled and delighted by the passion expressed regarding our omission of these fine candidates.
"In the true spirit of the Vox Populi Award, we have opened up the voting process to include both Paynter and Shackleford, as well as any horse who captures the affection and imagination of the general public. The concept of the award has always been one of inclusion rather than exclusion, and we are happy to welcome these two popular nominees and any others who reflect the wishes of casual fans as well as the most ardent racing enthusiasts."
Paynter and Shackleford will join the original nominees: Frankel, Europe's Cartier Horse of the Year and Timeform's highest rated horse in 64 years; I'll Have Another , the winner of this year's Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) whose 2012 earnings totaled $2.63 million; Royal Delta, who captured a second win in the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (gr. I) and earned $2 million in 2012; Shanghai Bobby, the 2-year-old who is undefeated in five career starts and a strong candidate for the 2012 Eclipse Award in his class; and Wise Dan, the Horse of the Year contender who captured the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. I) and accumulated earnings of $2.62 million in 2012.