Horse racing fans have spoken, and they have voted 5-year-old turf king Bricks and Mortar as the winner of the 2019 Secretariat Vox Populi Award in the year-end online poll. Created by Secretariat's owner Penny Chenery, the award annually recognizes the horse whose popularity and racing excellence best resounded with the general public and gained recognition for Thoroughbred racing.
Bricks and Mortar, a third generation grandson of Secretariat, was undefeated in 2019, was chosen by a record number of fans representing all 50 states and nearly 40 countries.
The annual Vox Populi Day Celebration will take place at Santa Anita Park on Jan. 11, 2020, with a collector poster giveaway and other festivities that will commemorate the 10th year of fans applauding their favorite equine athletes with participation in the “Vox Populi” selection process.
After being sidelined for 14 months with a neuro-muscular condition that affected his ability to gallop, Bricks and Mortar staged a comeback in 2019 that comprised of six wins in as many starts at six different tracks, including notable first-place finishes in the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational, the Manhattan Stakes, the Arlington Million, and the Longines Breeders' Cup Turf Championship. His triumphant return to racing attracted a fan following that grew with each anticipated start and the ensuing victory that followed.
“The 2019 racing season offered varied and interesting stories of equine stars, and Bricks and Mortar was a standout among them,” said Kate Chenery Tweedy, daughter of Penny Chenery and family historian. “Bricks and Mortar's comeback is a favorite plot in American sports lore — the return of a champion. We congratulate his connections and look forward to the presentation of the Secretariat Vox Populi Award trophy in January.”
Owned by Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence, Bricks and Mortar was trained by Chad Brown and piloted by jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.
“The well-being of all our horses is our primary concern,” said Seth Klarman, owner of Klaravich Stables. “When Bricks and Mortar was injured, we wanted to give him whatever time he needed to have the best chance for a full recovery. And did he ever recover! We are grateful for the fans who voted for Bricks and Mortar, who is truly the horse of a lifetime.”
Bricks and Mortar was one of a select group of six nominees submitted by the Vox Populi Committee and presented to thousands of voters worldwide who spoke as the “Voice of the People” in online polls on both Secretariat.com and AmericasBestRacing.net, where the Vox Populi was featured in the inaugural Fan Choice Awards. Other nominees were Belvoir Bay, Maximum Security, Midnight Bisou, Mitole, and Omaha Beach. Voters also had the option to write in their own favorite candidate.
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