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Winfield O'Connor

Winfield O'Connor
Induction Year: 
1881, New York City
March 6, 1947, New York City
Career Years: 
Number of Winners: 

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Winnie O’Connor was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and ran away from home as a boy. He became an apprentice to Bill Daly before he was a teenager, learning the ins and outs of being a jockey from the same man who taught the likes of Danny Maher, James McLaughlin, and Snapper Garrison.


O’Connor won his first race in 1896 at the age of 12, became a sensation riding in New Orleans in the winter of 1897, and was the leading rider at Tanforan the following winter. By 1900, O’Connor was seventh on the American jockey list with 117 wins. The following year, he topped the national standings with 253 wins. That year, when jockeys were accustomed to receiving a $50 gratuity for winning an important race, John E. Madden paid O’Connor $10,000 for riding Yankee to victory in the prestigious Futurity Stakes.


In 1902, O’Connor was fifth nationally with 141 wins before signing a contract to ride in France for Alphonso Rothschid. He won 340 races on the flat during the next nine years before transitioning into a steeplechase jockey in 1912.


O’Connor returned to America in 1924 and became a trainer. He was a bartender in Brooklyn when he died in 1947.