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William C. Winfrey

William C. Winfrey
Induction Year: 
Career Years: 
1932-1969, 1977-1978

Tab Wrapper


  Born in Detroit in 1916, Bill Winfrey was the stepson of Hall of Fame trainer G. Carey Winfrey. Bill Winfrey quit school at age 15 to become a jockey. He won four races before his weight grounded him.

  Winfrey quickly found success when he became a trainer, saddling his first stakes winner, Postage Due, at age 22 in 1938. Winfrey became associated with the impressive stables of Alfred Vanderbilt and the Phipps family. He conditioned Hall of Famers Native Dancer, Bed o’ Roses, and Buckpasser, as well as champions Next Move, Castle Forbes, Queen Empress, and Bold Lad.

  Winfrey’s greatest Thoroughbred was Native Dancer. Known as the “Gray Ghost,” Native Dancer won 21 of 22 starts. His only loss was to Dark Star by a head in the 1953 Kentucky Derby. Native Dancer then bested Dark Star in the Preakness and also won the Belmont.

  In 1964, Winfrey was the leading money-winning trainer with purse earnings of $1,350,534. In all, Winfrey trained 38 stakes winners.

  William C. Winfrey was inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 1971.