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last updated on May 23, 2012

Archived News Current News | Special Feature | Other News

Penny Chenery Announces Creation of Secretariat Vox Populi Award

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Jan. 19, 2011) – From the covers of national magazines to more recently the silver screen, “America’s Horse” Secretariat captured the heart of a nation. Today, his celebrated owner, Penny Chenery, announced the creation of an award that will annually recognize a horse whose popularity and racing excellence best resounded with the American public and gained recognition for the sport during the past year. The award is the first of its kind in horse racing.   

The inaugural Secretariat Vox Populi Award, or “Voice of the People,” will be awarded to Zenyatta, the brilliant mare whose only loss in her 20-race career was a nail-biting defeat in the Breeders’ Cup Classic last October. Owned by Ann and Jerry Moss, Zenyatta is also the recent winner of the 2010 Eclipse Horse of the Year Award and considered one of the most popular horses ever to have raced. Chenery is scheduled to present the custom-made Vox Populi trophy to the  Mosses in a public ceremony at Santa Anita Park on Feb. 5.    

 “Horse racing already has established avenues to award outstanding accomplishments, and we certainly should honor superior performance,” Chenery said. “But achievement can be measured in many ways, and fans occasionally feel a disconnect when the horses who most impacted the public are not recognized through the traditional equine awards. The industry is long overdue in annually acknowledging the star horse who brings the most excitement and attention to the sport. It is my hope that the Secretariat Vox Populi Award will achieve that purpose.”

Although Chenery selected this year’s recipient, plans are in place for a committee of both distinguished racing personalities and industry representatives to choose the winner each year going forward in conjunction with a national online vote.                     

 “I think racing fans will be just as excited about this award as I am, and we welcome everyone to come and share in the presentation festivities on Feb. 5,” Chenery said. “The award is sure to be an honor that reflects the heart and soul of this sport and will help build upon the devotion the public has for a horse they love.”        
For more information about the Secretariat Vox Populi Award, visit,  the official website for the legendary Thoroughbred champion. Celebrating racing's past to enrich its future, is a comprehensive online source for historical information, photography, merchandise, and memorabilia chronicling the enduring legacy of America's Horse.

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Mary Lou Whitney's acceptance speech upon receiving the 2010 Eclipse Award of Merit on January 17, 2011, Fontainebleau Miami Beach Hotel:

I am deeply honored and humbled to receive this prestigious award. I have loved the sport of Thoroughbred racing ever since Sonny Whitney introduced me to it in 1958.  I am grateful for the honor—in a small way—to carry on the traditions of the Whitney family who have been in this business since 1894. Horses and people involved in racing have always given me more than I could ever give them. Horse racing is where I feel the most alive and at home. You are my family.

Being part of the horse racing family is a pleasure and a privilege but also it means responsibility. Many first-time owners get very frustrated that they don’t achieve instant success. However, over the years, we have all learned success as an owner means our horses have finished a race unhurt. As owners, you have to be accountable to the horses—all horses—from the beginning of their lives to the end. We are advocates together. One must fight to ensure that there will be another never, ever horse slaughtered in America.

Another obligation we must share is to our backstretch workers. They are the sport’s unsung heroes. These wonderful people work long hours in dangerous situations while often living in poor conditions. All of us should try more to improve their lives and advance their dignity.

We also need to know that racing is not just about betting. The beauty, the pageantry and flair is what separates our sport from any out there. Every race meet must be an extraordinary event. The only place to be. As we look to the future we must also pass on the passion and the excitement of this wondrous sport to the next generation is our obligation. A candle loses nothing by lighting another.

Thank you for honoring me tonight with this most prestigious award in our industry. There are so many others who deserve this before me, however, I want you to know that you have given me one of the greatest moments of my life, and I am forever grateful. Tomorrow I am going to wake up inspired to do more for the horses and for you, the people I love. May God bless you and this wonderful sport.

 *     *      *

Summer Squall  1987 - 2009

Summer Squall was euthanized on September 22, due to the complications of old age and foundering. Lane’s End had tried for many days to keep him comfortable, but lost the battle.

Summer Squall was a vital part of Dogwood’s success, and we had the deepest conceivable affection for him, and all he did for us. He sired a Horse of the Year in Charismatic, and a Champion in Storm Song, campaigned by Dogwood. We bought many other sons and daughters, and they all had the grit and quality of the sire. The horse became infertile a few years back, and much to the credit of Lane’s End and a great compliment to the horse, the farm wished to keep him at their facilities in Midway, Kentucky rather than pension him out at some lesser place.

Summer Squall was bought by us as a yearling for $300,000, was undefeated as a two-year-old and as is well-known, won the Preakness. In six confrontations with his great rival Unbridled, he came out on top four times. 

*     *     *

February 5, 2009

Press Release:
For Immediate Release

Dogwood Stable Announces New Marketing Policy

Because of the current economic climate, Dogwood Stable, the pioneer in the field of Thoroughbred racing partnerships, has announced a 2009 marketing policy that will offer smaller ownership units, less markup, insistence on lower maintenance charges, and anticipated purchase prices of 60 to 70 cents on the dollar from previous years.

“Leaner times are here, so we’ve come up with some changes to make it easier to campaign a racehorse in 2009,” stated Dogwood Stable President W. Cothran “Cot” Campbell.  “Clearly this is a time when we must all make less money.”

“Quality horses are going to cost less at the sales this year,” said Campbell. “We think we can buy at 60 or 70 cents on the dollar from previous years. And Dogwood Stable’s markup on these reduced prices will be lessened by 20 to 40 percent on the horses purchased.”

Campbell explained that each of Dogwood’s horses would still be owned by a separate General Partnership; however, in 2009 some horses will be offered in a new eight-share format to go with Dogwood’s existing four-share model. This change will allow for a greatly reduced unit price.

“This experiment will commence with our purchases at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale on February 17,” said Campbell.

“Maintenance costs have been the bane of our existence and we are encouraged that they will decrease in the year ahead,” he continued. “We can’t control that, but we can certainly nag about it. We applaud the highly regarded Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, which has sent out a notice that fees are being reduced. I can’t see how other veterinarians, and other suppliers, can fail to follow suit. As trainers get hungrier they will too. The end use of a racehorse is to go to the races, win, and earn money. That’s a tough enough assignment under the best of conditions, but with excessive maintenance charges it is discouraging.”

Dogwood Stable has a minimum of four offerings a year. Two-year-olds are highlighted in two separate spring offerings. These individuals are purchased from the training sales in both Florida and Kentucky. The stable’s summer offering consists of yearlings purchased from Fasig-Tipton’s July and Saratoga August sales, while the fall offering represents purchases from the Keeneland September sale.

*     *     *

Cotton Blossom...

Dogwood Stable's Cotton Blossom, a Grade 1 stakes winner of $724,987, brought $1.9 Million at Fasig-Tipton's Selected sale on November 4 in Lexington, Kentucky. The three-year-old filly was purchased by Overbrook Farm and her new owners plan to breed her to Storm Cat, the powerhouse stallion who has twice been ranked America's Leading Sire.

"It was a bittersweet moment to watch our filly sell," said Dogwood President Cot Campbell. "With her race record, breeding and looks we thought she would be one of the stars of this sale, and the $1.9 Million Overbrook Farm spent proved we were correct. She has brought all of us at Dogwood some great memories - capped off with her Grade 1 win in the Acorn Stakes at Belmont. She was one of the best of her generation."

Campbell purchased the leggy daughter of Broken Vow - For Dixie by Dixieland Band for $210,000 from the Fasig-Tipton July Selected Yearling sale in 2005. She was retired from racing in August after sustaining an injury in the running of the Grade 1 Test Stakes at Saratoga.

Trained throughout her career by Todd Pletcher, Cotton Blossom competed for two years, with four wins, two seconds, and two thirds from 11 career starts, 10 of them stakes. Her career highlights included win in the Grade 1 Acorn at Belmont and the Grade 3 Schuylerville at Saratoga. She also won the Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay Downs. Cotton Blossom was second in the Grade 1 Spinaway at Saratoga her juvenile season, a year that was capped off with a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs. Other graded stakes placings during the filly's career include a second in the Grade 2 Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn Park and a third in the Grade 2 Delaware Oaks.

Cotton Blossom was sold through the Three Chimneys Farm consignment.

5/16/2007 Daily Racing Form senior columnist Jay Hovdey has written a wonderful column about  Cot, Dogwood, and the fact that this year's Kentucky Derby winning owner - Jim Tafel - has called Cot his "mentor."

*     *     *

Street Sense owner nods to his mentor


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Author, raconteur, and racehorse syndicator Cot Campbell has lived the kind of life in which it matters very much what people say about you in public. For someone like Campbell, part of the sell is yourself.

That is why it was so gratifying for Campbell when word drifted back to him last week in South Carolina that Jim Tafel, owner of Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, dropped the ultimate shout-out during the post-race press conference.

"Cot's a very good friend of mine," Tafel told the assembled Derby media while sitting next to his trainer, Carl Nafzger. "He taught me a lot. I tell him he's my mentor."

In the world of horse racing, an endorsement from such a pulpit ranks right up there with a Nobel laureate giving credit to his third-grade math teacher.

"He didn't need to do that," Campbell said this week from his Dogwood Stable offices. "Mentor . . . that's very strong. He was one of I think six partners in a very nice grass horse named Nassipour - won the Rothmans International in 1985 - as well as maybe a half a dozen horses that didn't amount to anything. Apparently he's forgotten those and gotten a little soft-hearted as he's gone along."

Winning a Kentucky Derby should make anyone generous. But Tafel's sentiments were sincere, and his recollection of Nassipour still vivid. As one of the first major stakes winners of the Dogwood syndicates, Nassipour turned Tafel and his partners a tidy profit by winning more than $800,000 before being sold as a stallion to New Zealand interests.

Inspired in part by Nassipour's success, Tafel went on to devote more time to his private Thoroughbred holdings, resulting in a portfolio that has included not only Street Sense but also champion Banshee Breeze and such stakes winners as Unshaded, Vicar, Metfield, Coolawin, and Binalong. Had Tafel stayed in the Dogwood fold awhile longer, though, he might have been part of the 28-person partnership that really put Campbell and his investors on the map.

Preakness week always summons strong memories for Cot and his wife of 48 years, the former Anne Dodd. They start with the 1983 running, in which Desert Wine, a son of the Never Bend mare Anne Campbell, looked home and dry deep in the Pimlico stretch until Deputed Testamony splashed out of the pack to steal the show by 2 3/4 lengths. Menifee, another son of Anne Campbell, came within 1 1/2 lengths of winning the 1999 Preakness, but couldn't quite catch Charismatic.

The Anne Campbell angle was a pleasant diversion, but in 1990, the Campbells and a 28-member partnership were squarely in the spotlight with Summer Squall, a son of Storm Bird who had finished second to the Nafzger-trained Unbridled in the Kentucky Derby. "We had a great rivalry," Campbell recalled. "The two colts ran against each other six times."

For the record, Summer Squall finished in front of Unbridled in four of those six encounters, including the Blue Grass and the Preakness, which he won by a conclusive 2 1/2 lengths over the Derby hero.

"Summer Squall bled significantly that winter in Florida," Campbell noted, "so I'd announced even before the Derby that we wouldn't be running in the Belmont, because Lasix wasn't legal at the time in New York. That was costly, because in those days there was that million-dollar bonus for the horse who ran the best in all three legs of the Triple Crown."

Unbridled ended up taking the bonus unopposed, by simply finishing a distant fourth in the Belmont.

"I always kidded Carl that he should have given us at least 10 percent," Campbell said. "I also remember after the Preakness how old Summer Squall was bouncing around the next morning. I thought, you sonofagun, the least you could do would be to act tired."

Still, settling for a Preakness, especially for someone trying to attract investors to the game, is no minor accomplishment.

"It's like throwing a stone in a pool," Campbell said. "The ripples keep coming back. I can always mention something about winning the Preakness. And even though it's not quite as good as winning the Derby, it'll do."

Such tales of victory and woe are featured in Campbell's most recent book, "Memoirs of a Longshot . . . a Riproarious Life," which pulls few punches in the description of his younger days as a free-wheeling ad executive and dedicated alcoholic.

The fact that Campbell, at 79, has been dry as a bone for nearly 50 years is quite beside the point. He is not the sort of man to hide from his own history. In "Memoirs of a Longshot," he recounts his addiction with just the right amount of self-deprecating humor and heartfelt regret. Lessons learned.

"I've had a lot of people tell me they've had the same problems I've had, and that reading the book has meant something to them," Campbell said. "That means a lot to me."

And, of course, he sent an autographed copy to his old friend Jim Tafel.

"Well, no," Campbell admitted. "I guess I figured if I'm already a mentor, I'd better leave well enough alone."

*     *     *

Cot Campbell Inducted in South Carolina's Athletic Hall of Fame

Dogwood Stable's President Cot Campbell joined seven other individuals on May 21 when he was inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2007.

"I am thrilled to be inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame," said Campbell. "While it is completely undeserved, it is heady stuff to be in the same outfit as Max Hirsch, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Doc Blanchard, Walter Johnson, Althea Gibson, Cale Yarborough and other hot shots. In my case I owe it to some wonderful horses that have come along through the years and kept us in the forefront of a great sport. And I owe it to a wonderful staff."

Campbell is the fourth horseman to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. The other three are Marion duPont Scott, Max Hirsch and Frank Whiteley Jr.

Bob Spear, a sports editor for The State newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, did a fine job of covering the induction news - and for more on the Hall of Fame, click here.

*     *     *

Big News on Cot Campbell's New Book!

Cot Campbell's new book - Memoirs of a Longshot - is now available!

This autobiographical tale can be purchased in both hardback and soft cover editions, priced at $32.99 and $22.99 respectively. To place an order, click here to be taken to our publisher's website.

Trainer Todd Pletcher says of this book: "It is so much more than one man's autobiography, it's an entertaining 'how to' manual for an unusual life."

Ed Bowen, President of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, writes: "Cot Campbell's Dogwood Stable has been a mainstay in the world of horse racing for many years. The rollicking tale of how this came to be, and the personal travails overcome to make it so, is at times harrowing and sad, but ultimately uplifting and joyous."

To learn more about the book - and to hear Mr. Campbell read an excerpt - please click on Cot's new website

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