Paynter, the 2012 Vox Populi winner, is a 2013 nominee for the award.<br><a target="blank" href="!i=2874376312&k=9jzvtLH">Order This Photo</a>

Paynter, the 2012 Vox Populi winner, is a 2013 nominee for the award.
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Rick Samuels

Finalists Announced, Vox Populi Voting Begins

Online voting is open for the Secretariat Vox Populi Award.

Online voting is open for the Secretariat Vox Populi Award. 

Created by Secretariat's owner Penny Cheney, the Vox Populi, or "Voice of the People," Award recognizes the racehorse whose popularity and racing excellence best resounded with the public and gained recognition for the sport during the past year. 

The field of nominees was expanded this year to six, and voters also will have the option to write-in a racehorse of their choice at the site.

This year's nominees are: Game On Dude, the 6-year-old gelding whose stellar year to date has produced $2.47 million in earnings and first-place finishes in five of six starts; Groupie Doll, the popular 5-year-old mare who won her second consecutive Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I); Mucho Macho Man , the 5-year-old Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner who earned almost $3 million this year; Paynter , the 2012 Vox Populi winner who returned to racing at the highest level after battling laminitis and colitis; Princess of Sylmar, the 3-year old filly who won four grade I stakes and earned more than $1.5 million during 2013; and Wise Dan, the 6-year-old returning Vox Populi nominee and 2012 Horse of the Year who won the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) for the second consecutive year.

Previous Vox Populi winners include the tenacious Rapid Redux in 2011 and the wildly popular inaugural winner Zenyatta in 2010.

Chenery said this year's nominees are a diverse group in their achievements and appeal.

"It is noteworthy that there are so many older horses among our nominees this year," Chenery said in a release. "These horses are still going strong. They have had staying power in the public eye and prompt more fans to root for their continued success."

The winner will be selected on the equally weighted basis of the public online poll as well as input from the Vox Populi Committee and Chenery. Voting in the online poll ends Dec. 21, with the public presentation to the 2013 winner scheduled for the weekend of Jan. 11, 2014, at Santa Anita Park.