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Paynter honored with 'Vox Populi' Award

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Louisville, KY (Sportsbooks) - Belmont Stakes runner-up Paynter has been voted the third annual Secretariat 'Vox Populi' Award. The winning horse was determined through online voting as well as consensus from the 'Vox Populi' Committee and input from Mrs. Penny Chenery who owned Secretariat's.

The Secretariat 'Vox Populi,' or "Voice of the People," Award is given to a horse "whose popularity and racing excellence best resounded with the American public and gained recognition for thoroughbred racing." Mrs. Chenery created the award two years ago.

"Paynter's popularity stems from his ability to battle and exceed expectations, making him the perfect choice as the recipient of this year's Vox Populi Award," said Mrs. Chenery.

Owned by Zayat Stables, Paynter won the Haskell Invitational during the summer but became ill and was unable to travel to his California home base. The 3- year-old colt spent time at the Mid-Atlantic Equine Medical Center in New Jersey and then was stabled at Belmont Park in the hope he could recover and race again.

Paynter, trained by Bob Baffert, then suffered with laminitis, a painful disease that attacks the sensitive inner tissue of horses' hooves.

"After seeing firsthand the devastating effects of this disease, I am even more convinced that the industry must continue to diligently fight laminitis," Mrs. Chenery noted. "The progress we have made to date clearly benefited Paynter -- a beautiful colt with a tremendous spirit."

Owner and trainer are hopeful that Paynter will be able to resume training for a 2013 racing campaign.

Zenyatta received the first Secretariat 'Vox Populi' Award in 2010 and last year's recipient was Rapid Redux, who retired with 22 consecutive wins.

The award presentation will be held on Saturday, Dec. 29 at Santa Anita Park.

December 27, 2012, at 10:30 AM ET
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