VINCENT M. POWERS
- Grant Recipient
- 2 S Portage St, Westfield, NY 14787, USA
- 42.32163, -79.57771
Village of Westfield
Born in Westfield, N.Y., in 1891, Vincent M. Powers achieved success as a jockey and trainer and is believed to be the only rider to ever lead the North American standings as both a flat and steeplechase competitor. He later became a leading steeplechase trainer in North America and conditioned one of the greatest jumpers in racing history, Jolly Roger. Powers is in the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2015.
Powers began riding in his early teens on the half-mile tracks of the Canadian circuit’s lower levels. He won his first race at a recognized track as a 15-year-old in 1907 at Churchill Downs. The following year, he became the leading jockey in North America with 324 victories, winning 25.7 percent of his races. He again topped the national standings with 173 (24.5 percent) wins in 1909 even though he missed considerable time because of a suspension for rough riding. Powers won several significant races in 1908 and also won prestigious races in 1909, including the Kentucky Derby with Wintergreen. Powers was aboard Fitz Herbert when he set a world record of 2:45 flat in the 1⅝-mile Lawrence Realization at Sheepshead Bay. In 1910 Powers won 107 races (20.9 percent) and at the end of 1910, at the age of 18, Powers was one of America’s most accomplished riders. When New York shut down racing in 1913, Powers relocated to Europe for three-plus years prior to World War One, when he returned to United States with his German-born wife Hedwig.
Back in America, Powers worked with Greentree Stables and its steeplechase trainer, Jimmy Owens. Powers was contracted to be Greentree’s primary steeplechase rider and held the position through 1922. He became the top North American steeplechase jockey in 1917 when he won on 15 of 39 mounts (38.4 percent). In 1922, Powers took over as Greentree’s head steeplechase trainer when Owens died. Powers was the leading steeplechase trainer in North America in 1927 when he saddled 19 winners and set a record with $103,889 in purse earnings. In 1928 and went on to become the first steeplechaser to surpass $100,000 in career earnings. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1965. Powers retired from training in 1946. He died Oct. 19, 1966 in New York City at the age of 74.