Racing Champions Guidelines

American Quarter Horse Association Champions Selection Committee official guidelines for selecting AQHA Racing Champions

Racing Champions Guidelines

Official guidelines for selecting AQHA Racing Champions.


The AQHA Racing Champions and AQHA Racing World Champion will be awarded annually by written ballot of a geographically diverse Champions Selection Subcommittee. Geographically diverse will be defined as no more than four members may reside in the same state or province. Only two of those members can be elected by the Racing Committee and two appointed by the Racing Council.


  1. Committee Members:
    1. *The Champions Selection Committee will be comprised of 21 members:
      1. 11 to be elected by the Racing Committee that are members of the AQHA Racing Committee
      2. 10 to be elected by the Racing Council that are AQHA members at large (they may or may not be Racing Committee members).
      3. The Champions Selection committee will be elected at the annual AQHA Convention the year they will serve on the committee.
      4. All terms are 1 year.
      5. A person cannot serve more than two consecutive one-year terms.
      6. Voting and video review will take place at a location and date TBD each year.
      7. Members of the Champions Selection Committee will be required to sign a code of conduct policy.

*Effective April 2018 – A quorum of 15 members must be present for voting.


  1. The Ballot Process
    1. Prior to presenting the final ballot to the Champions Selection Subcommittee, the Racing Committee will be sent a list of horses that could potentially be on the final ballot. They may then nominate any horse they feel merits the recognition and is not automatically placed on the ballot.


    1. Once the response date given to the Racing Committee has passed, the Champions Selection ballot will include the following categories by current year money earned:
    1. Top 5 distance horses
    2. Top 10 two-year-old colts
    3. Top 10 two-year-old fillies
    4. Top 10 two-year-old geldings
    5. Top 6 three-year-old colts
    6. Top 6 three-year-old fillies
    7. Top 6 three-year-old geldings
    8. Top 5 aged stallions
    9. Top 5 aged mares
    10. Top 5 aged geldings
    11. Top 10 Canadian horses
    12. Top 10 Mexican horses
    13. Top 10 South American horses



  • Horses earning a Grade 1 open stakes win.
  • Given the limited number of stakes in the Distance division, all Graded 870 race winners are included in the contender’s list.


14.  The Canadian provincial racing Quarter Horse associations, Mexican Quarter Horse Association, and the ABQM have asked that the Racing Committee handle the selection criteria and voting process for determining the yearly Canadian, Mexican and South American Champion. Therefore, the top 10 money earning Canada foaled, Mexico foaled and South America foaled racing American Quarter Horses that competed primarily in Canada, Mexico or South America respectively will be placed on the ballot. South American horses will be required to be registered with AQHA in order to be considered on the ballot.

                               15.   Owner, Breeder, Trainer, and Jockey of the year will be awarded annually also by written ballot of the                                        Champions Selection Subcommittee. The ten top ranked individuals with the best overall placing                                                according to the following criteria will be placed on the ballot:

    1. Money earned (Money earned in partnerships should be divided equally amongst each named partner on AQHA papers in regard to Breeder and Owner champion awards as of time of ownership.)
    2. Races won and
    3. Graded Stakes performance
    4. The Champions Selection Committee has the ability to award a special recognition award to breeder, owner, trainer, or jockey, if warranted.

               16.   Any other horse or human nominated by a member of the Racing Committee


  1. The Voting Process
    1. Data provided will be on one page per horse in an expanded past performance layout with graded stakes and corresponding fields.
    1. All 21 members will meet in the location chosen.
    1. Every effort will be made to send voting information prior to the meeting to allow as much time as possible to review the information.
    1. Members will also be encouraged to review all open and restricted stakes races thru the Q-Racing Video archives. All open Grade 1 races will be watched during the voting meeting.
    1. Before voting takes place in each category, any member(s) abstaining in that particular category must announce it to the entire committee.
    1. If a tie occurs in the voting process and there are more than two horses receiving votes, the parties voting for horses other than those who are tied shall be given the opportunity to cast a vote amongst the two that are tied. In the event that there is still a tie, then one voter amongst the group will be drawn out and thus break the tie. In the event there are only two horses receiving votes, then there shall be a draw out whereby one Committee member does not vote in the given category and thus break the tie.
    1. Voters will be instructed to vote for only one horse or individual in each category.
    1. Keep the results confidential for any category in which the results are not required to be announced to the Champions Selection Committee as a condition of continued voting. These categories include Champion Owner, Breeder, Jockey, and Trainer awards, as well as the Canada, Mexico, and South America Champions.
    1. For each of the 2-year-old, 3-year-old and aged horse categories, after the voting has taken place among the sex divisions for each age category, the committee will be informed of the three (3) winners – colt, filly, gelding – so the committee is selecting one (1) of three (3) horses eligible to win that particular age category.
    1. From the three (3) age category champions, the committee will be informed of the champion 2-year-old, 3-year-old and aged horse so the committee is selecting one (1) of the three (3) eligible horses for AQHA Racing World Champion. Only this horse will carry the title of World Champion. This title will be defined as the horse that would win a theoretical 440-yard race against the other two (2) divisional champions.
    1. If no one earns a majority of votes, run-off elections will be held until one horse receives a majority of votes cast.
  1.       L. The voting of each Champions Selection committee member will be made public after the announcement of the               champions. The voting will be published on AQHA’s Web site and in the press, release announcing the champions. 

         M. The Racing Council can appoint a replacement for anyone who is unable to vote.
    1. Horses and/or trainers falling under the stipulations outlined in the AQHA Policy Concerning Awards and Publicity of Horses and/or Trainers with Racing Medication Positives shall be deemed ineligible to be considered for AQHA Racing Champion Awards associated with the calendar year in which a positive test occurred.
  •      O. Should a horse receive an AQHA Racing Champions Award, and a racing jurisdiction subsequently reports that                such horse tested positive a substance/medication described in Section M. immediately above during the year                  associated with the Award in question, such horse shall be stripped of the Award and the category affected will not            be awarded for that particular year.

  •      P. In deliberating whether or not to vote for an individual or horse, a Committee Member may take into account (1)            whether or not the reputation of the individual or horse will adversely reflect on the prestigious honor of being                  selected as an AQHA Racing Champion or AQHA Racing World Champion and (2) whether or not the individual            or horse in question is a favorable representative of the ideals, objectives and reputation of AQHA in its efforts to            promote the quarter horse racing industry.