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Online voting is now open for the eighth annual winner of the Secretariat Vox Populi Award. Among this year’s nominees is the late Maryland-bred Horse of the Year Ben’s Cat.

Created by Secretariat’s late owner Penny Chenery, 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.

Fans can vote in the online poll here . The poll is open through Dec. 12, and a public presentation to the 2017 Vox Populi winner is scheduled for Jan. 20, 2018, at Santa Anita Park.

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Maryland-bred champions of 2017 announced at inaugural Renaissance Awards

Skeedattle Associates’ Just Howard, winner of the Grade 3 Commonwealth Derby at Laurel Park as part of a four-race win streak over the summer of 2017, took home top honors as Maryland-bred Horse of the Year, champion 3-year-old male and champion turf horse. The announcments were made at the inaugural Renaissance Awards, a cooperative effort between the Maryland Horse Breeders Association, Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and Maryland Jockey Club created to recognize excellence in Thoroughbred racing and breeding in Maryland in 2017. The event was held on Monday evening, Feb. 12, at the Sagamore Pendry hotel in Baltimore.

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2017 Maryland Breeder, Broodmare and Stallion of the Year Awards

Breeder of the Year: HOWARD M. BENDER

Longtime Maryland breeder Howard Bender, one of the state’s most admired and respected figures, earned his fifth Maryland Breeder of the Year award posthumously for a year in which runners he bred earned more than $1.2 million and included Maryland-bred champion finalists Blu Moon Ace and Just Howard.

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2017 Annual Top 2-Year-Old Rankings

Bolt d’Oro, a multiple Grade 1 winner, and Good Magic, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile-G1, were both assigned the high weight of 126 pounds to top The Jockey Club’s Annual Top 2-Year-Old Rankings, formerly known as the Experimental Free Handicap, for 2017. The highest weighted filly, at 123 pounds, was Caledonia Road, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies-G1.

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