12/27/2012 11:56AM

Paynter named winner of Vox Populi Award


Paynter, the winner of the 2012 Haskell Stakes who has been sidelined with various ailments for most of the latter half of the year, has been selected to receive the third annual “Vox Populi” award, a prize that is administered by the connections of the late two-time Horse of the Year Secretariat.

Paynter’s selection followed an aggressive online campaign by owner Ahmed Zayat in support of his colt. Paynter was not on the original list of nominees for the award, but Zayat urged Twitter subscribers to contact the award’s administrators to add the colt to the list. After the horse was added, Zayat then used Twitter to urge users to vote for the horse.

Selection of the winner is determined by online voting, a six-member committee, and “input” from Penny Chenery, the owner of Secretariat. In a release, the administrators of the award said that Paynter “emerged as the consensus choice among the three determining bodies.”

Other finalists included the undefeated European horse Frankel; Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another; Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic winner Royal Delta; Met Mile winner Shackleford; the undefeated 2-year-old Shanghai Bobby; and Horse of the Year candidate Wise Dan.

After his Haskell victory, Paynter was sidelined after developing colitis, a digestive ailment. During his recovery, he was treated for the onset of laminitis, a highly serious disease. Zayat used Twitter during the horse’s treatments to keep fans apprised of the horse’s condition. The colt is now scheduled to be shipped to trainer Bob Baffert on Dec. 29, Zayat has said.