By Mint Julep

Kentucky Derby Winner 1909 Wintergreen

kentucky derby winner 1909 wintergreen

In 1909, the Kentucky Derby witnessed a historic moment when Wintergreen won under jockey Vincent Powers and trainer Charles Mack. The crucial role of owner Jerome B. Respess in supporting Wintergreen’s training is highlighted, along with the impact of breeding on this legendary racehorse’s success. Explore how track conditions, jockey performance, and prize distribution all played a part in securing Wintergreen’s place among the prestigious winners of the Kentucky Derby.

Kentucky Derby Winner 1909 Wintergreen

The 1909 Kentucky Derby was a showstopper, as Wintergreen broke the odds and made his mark in racing history. With expert training from Charles Mack, this energetic colt displayed unmatched determination as he raced down the track at Churchill Downs. Jockey Vincent Powers skillfully guided Wintergreen through the competition, showcasing a mix of finesse and natural talent that left onlookers impressed.

Amidst cheers from the crowd, Wintergreen surged forward with unwavering speed and elegance. Each beat of his hooves echoed like a triumphal melody in the air, propelling him closer to victory with each stride. Owner Jerome B. Respess anxiously watched from the stands, feeling every pulse-pounding moment unfold on the racetrack.

In an exhilarating display of athleticism and sheer determination, Wintergreen crossed the finish line first, leaving his competitors stunned behind him. The dirt track bore witness to an extraordinary achievement as this unexpected horse claimed victory against all expectations. A testament to teamwork and unyielding spirit, Wintergreen’s win at the 1909 Kentucky Derby remains a memorable story of courage and perseverance prevailing over challenges.

Race Results and Payout

Wintergreen’s win at the 1909 Kentucky Derby wasn’t just about being fast and enduring, but it showed how well the horse, jockey, and trainer worked together. The track was all muddy which made the race even harder, testing their skills and ability to adapt. However, Wintergreen managed to push forward with impressive agility and determination.

The team that owned Wintergreen played a big part in getting the horse ready for race day by training meticulously and making smart decisions. They made sure Wintergreen was in top shape for the Derby. Jockey Vincent Powers skillfully guided Wintergreen through the tough course, showing his expertise and deep bond with his horse.

In a sport where quick decisions can decide who wins or loses, everything must go perfectly for victory. From timing things just right during important moments to staying calm under pressure – Wintergreen showed excellence in every aspect of racing. This victory not only brought glory to its owners but also secured its place as one of Kentucky Derby’s most memorable champions.

As people cheered from the stands and those who bet on him waited eagerly for their payouts, Wintergreen crossed that finish line triumphantly – proving its strength on that significant day back in 1909. The memory of this iconic win lives on through many generations of racing fans who see it as an amazing example of talent, persistence, and pure determination overcoming all challenges.

The Pros & Cons of Wintergreen's Historic Victory


  1. When Wintergreen won the Kentucky Derby, it became the first time a horse from Kentucky had ever achieved this victory.

  2. This win established Wintergreen's position in racing history and contributed to the reputation of his trainer, Charles Mack.

  3. Wintergreen's success highlighted how crucial strategy and perseverance are in horse racing.

  4. The triumph drew national attention to Kentucky and its flourishing horse breeding industry.

  5. Fans were enthralled by Wintergreen's underdog tale, turning his victory into an unforgettable moment in sports history.


  1. Some critics said Wintergreen only won the race by chance and wasn't really a skilled racer.

  2. The tough competition at the 1909 Kentucky Derby made people doubt if Wintergreen's victory was fair.

  3. Even though he did well at the Derby, Wintergreen had trouble keeping up his winning streak in later races.

  4. Trying to match his big win may have stressed out both Wintergreen and his team.

  5. Wintergreen's victory took attention away from other great horses and their successes at the 1909 Kentucky Derby.

Winning Breeder and Scratched Horses

Winning the 1909 Kentucky Derby was no accident for Wintergreen. The breeder, Jerome B. Respess from Ohio, played a key role in molding Wintergreen into a champion. Breeding is like building a house – without solid roots, the structure won’t last.

As the horses lined up for the big race, three contenders were missing due to scratches: T.M. Green, Ada Meade, and Woolwinder. Just like life throws unexpected curveballs at us all sometimes horse racing has surprises too. These scratched horses probably had their own tales and dreams heading into the Derby but fate had other ideas that day.

Jerome B. Respess’ careful breeding choices paid off when Wintergreen crossed that finish line first at Churchill Downs on May 10th, 1909.Wintergreen’s victory showed how every little aspect in horse racing counts- from breeding decisions to jockey performance on race day.

The absence of T.M.Green,Ade Meade,and Woolwinder might have changed things up in the race,but it only added more excitement to Wintergreen’s historic win.Everything truly fell into place perfectly for Wintergreen- underlining how success often depends on various factors aligning just right in sports and beyond

Historical Context of the 1909 Kentucky Derby

The 1909 Kentucky Derby was the 35th running of this famous event, held at Churchill Downs. Among a crowd of excited fans and fluttering betting slips, Wintergreen emerged as an unexpected contender. Jockey Vincent Powers expertly steered Wintergreen through the pack towards victory.

As hooves thundered on the track and cheers filled the grandstands, Wintergreen’s win felt almost like it had been scripted for drama. Trained by future Hall of Famer Charles Mack and owned by Preston Burch from Maryland, Wintergreen embodied a true underdog spirit that resonated with many spectators. Defying all expectations, this unassuming colt made his mark in racing history with determination and elegance.

Amidst gasps of astonishment at Wintergreen’s surprising success, one couldn’t help but be amazed at how everything fell into place on that memorable day in May. From navigating muddy tracks to strategic moves orchestrated by Powers himself, every detail seemed to align perfectly for this unlikely champion. Fans raised their glasses to celebrate their new hero amid joyous cries ringing out like harmonious music notes; it was evident destiny had charted an unconventional course for Wintergreen.

Looking back at the 1909 Kentucky Derby serves as a powerful reminder of resilience against overwhelming odds – highlighting that talent combined with unwavering resolve can create moments that stand the test of time. With each hoofbeat etched in history alongside stories of brave horses past and present; Wintergreen’s legacy shines brightly as a symbol of hope for dreamers everywhere chasing their own symbolic finish lines.

Thrilling Race Results: Top Performers Revealed!

Finished Post Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Time / behind
1st 6 Wintergreen Vincent Powers Charles Mack Jerome B. Respess 2:08.20
2nd 1 Miami Carroll H. Shilling W. L. Lewis Johnson N. Camden Jr. 4
3rd 3 Dr. Barkley Stanley B. Page Walter Grater Lee Smitha 3
4th 9 Sir Catesby Sam Heidel Thomas P. Hayes Thomas P. Hayes Head
5th 7 Friend Harry Phil Musgrave G. C. Baker Edward Alvey 4
6th 5 Direct A. Walsh William J. Young William J. Young 3
7th 8 Michael Angelo George Taplin John Walters George M. Hendrie 3
8th 10 Warfield Dale Austin William J. Young Joseph H. Lesch 3
9th 2 Campeon Matt McGee Peter W. Coyne George J. Long 8
10th 4 Match Me James Lee A. J. Gorey A. J. Gorey 2

Impact of Ownership and Training

Jerome B. Respess, the owner of Wintergreen, played a crucial role in leading his horse to victory at the 1909 Kentucky Derby. Thanks to his strong support and generous financial resources, Trainer Charles Mack was able to employ advanced training methods that turned Wintergreen into a top competitor on race day.

Respess handpicked Trainer Charles Mack for the job due to his talent-spotting skills. Under Mack’s guidance, Wintergreen underwent intense training sessions focused on boosting strength and endurance, qualities that ultimately helped the horse win the race.

The teamwork between Jerome B. Respess and Trainer Charles Mack highlighted their joint dedication to excellence in equine sportsmanship. Their collaboration not only improved Wintergreen’s performance but also secured their place as key figures in racing history thanks to one of Churchill Downs’ most unforgettable victories.

Wintergreen’s success demonstrates how careful planning, committed ownership, and expert training can all come together seamlessly on race day to create an unforgettable moment recorded in Kentucky Derby history—a triumph cherished by both those directly involved and fans worldwide who love the excitement of horse racing at its best.

Jockey Vincent Powers’ Role

Vincent Powers played a crucial role in Wintergreen’s victory at the 1909 Kentucky Derby. The rain was pouring heavily on Churchill Downs, transforming the track into a muddy mess. This posed an additional challenge for Powers as he prepared to ride his horse in the prestigious race. Despite facing these tough conditions, Powers remained composed and focused, displaying his outstanding riding skills throughout the event.

The connection between Powers and Wintergreen was evident right from the start of the race. They moved together seamlessly, skillfully maneuvering through a crowded field of competitors all aiming for success. It was clear that Powers had developed a strong bond with his horse, understanding its movements and behavior to make quick decisions critical for their triumph.

As they raced down towards the finish line, Powers expertly urged Wintergreen forward with precision. His strategic positioning and tactical moves allowed them to outpace their rivals in an impressive show of speed and determination. The crowd cheered excitedly as they watched this dynamic duo surge ahead towards victory.

When Wintergreen crossed the finish line first, it symbolized more than just a win for jockey and horse; it represented teamwork, talent, and unwavering commitment to excellence shown by Vincent Powers. Their triumphant moment would be remembered in horse racing history as an example of how skill combined with mutual trust between rider and steed can lead to greatness even on challenging tracks.

Vincent Power’s exceptional performance aboard Wintergreen serves as a lasting reminder that success isn’t only about reaching some arbitrary endpoint but rather about overcoming obstacles together – whether human or animal – against all odds. By harnessing their collective strength on that memorable day in 1909, both jockey and horse left an unforgettable mark on Kentucky Derby history: evidence that true champions are not merely born but created through persistence under pressure.

Iconic Tales Surrounding Kentucky Derby Champion Wintergreen

  1. Fascinating Stories about Kentucky Derby Winner Wintergreen:

  2. Surprising Win: Wintergreen, the champ of the 1909 Kentucky Derby, was seen as an underdog with odds at 20-1 in the race. His unexpected victory shocked many and firmly established his place in Derby history.

  3. Trainer Drama: Wintergreen's trainer, Charles Mack, came under fire for allegedly using questionable training techniques to prep the horse for the Derby. Despite all that drama, Wintergreen's win showcased his natural talent.

  4. Vibrant Jockey: The renowned jockey Vincent Powers rode Wintergreen to glory with his unique riding style and lively personality. Powers' expert handling of Wintergreen played a key role in their triumph on the racetrack.

  5. Record Time: In winning the 1909 Kentucky Derby, Wintergreen set a new track record at Churchill Downs by clocking an impressive time of 2:08:This achievement further solidified his status as a standout champion in horse racing lore.

  6. Lasting Impact: Even today, fans worldwide still celebrate and honor Wintergreen's victory at the 1909 Kentucky Derby. His tale stands as a testament to both unpredictability and enduring appeal of this iconic "Run for Roses" event."

Track Surface Conditions

In 1909, the dirt track at Churchill Downs was a real wild card. Its bumpy surface and potential for mudslides made the race a true test of skill and determination. Jockeys had to stay alert as they guided their horses through the messy terrain towards victory.

Wintergreen’s win wasn’t just about speed; it was also about finesse and adaptability. Maneuvering through the tricky turns and slippery straights required both horse and rider to balance between chaos and control, showcasing horsemanship under tough conditions.

Picture Wintergreen racing down the stretch, kicking up mud like an artist painting on canvas. Each stride he took brought him closer to triumph while showing resilience in challenging circumstances—a display of grit that touched spectators’ hearts that day.

As hooves thudded against the ground, sounds echoed around Churchill Downs—a symphony of determination playing out amidst cheers from eager fans who understood this race wasn’t just about winning but overcoming nature’s obstacles with grace.

Looking back, we can see how Wintergreen’s victory went beyond mere competition—it became a symbol for life itself where challenges are common but can be conquered with perseverance and self-belief.

Purse Distribution and Prize Money

At that time, horse racing was fiercely competitive, and the prize money reflected this. The top horses like Wintergreen earned significant winnings, rewarding owners, trainers, and jockeys based on their performances. In 1909, Wintergreen’s victory at the Kentucky Derby won its owner a large chunk of the $4,850 purse. This win not only made history for Wintergreen but also brought substantial financial rewards to those who trained and rode him.

Wintergreen’s triumph wasn’t just about winning; it represented dreams achieved through hard work in an industry where success is thrilling yet fleeting. The desire to claim a slice of the prize pool sparked fierce competition among participants who knew every step taken on that Churchill Downs track could determine profit or loss. Owners dedicated time and resources to breeding elite Thoroughbreds like Wintergreen with hopes of moments like these – where their investments raced towards glory under the twin spires.

For trainers such as William H. Fizer who led Wintergreen to victory that day, each stride down those historic tracks symbolized years of effort culminating in one crucial race – where strategy met speed amid thundering hooves echoing through Derby history. Their expert conditioning ensured Wintergreen performed at his best when it counted most – crossing that finish line first meant more than fame; it signaled validation for endless hours spent shaping a champion fit for prestigious races like the Kentucky Derby.

Jockeys played a vital role in turning months of preparation into split-second decisions on race day – guiding these powerful beasts across challenging distances toward coveted titles worth more than mere gold coins tossed by spectators caught up in derby excitement. They navigated treacherous turns with steady nerves knowing mistakes could cost them not only this race but future opportunities awaiting skilled riders ready to seize them amidst intense competition within this high-stakes sport.

Legacy of Winners and Breeders

Wintergreen’s win at the 1909 Kentucky Derby wasn’t just about winning a horse race; it was a result of careful breeding, expert training, and top-notch jockey skills all coming together. Owned by Preston Burch and trained by Charles Mack, Wintergreen showed incredible strength and speed as he maneuvered through tough track conditions to clinch victory. This perfect combination led to success that echoed throughout the history of horse racing.

The race itself was full of suspense with Wintergreen facing strong competitors like Joe Morris and Jack Denman. But with jockey Vincent Powers in control, Wintergreen charged forward with determination, leaving everyone amazed at his performance on the track. The teamwork between the horse, trainer, owner, and jockey resulted in an unforgettable display that firmly placed Wintergreen among the Derby greats forever.

More than just a win on race day at Churchill Downs, Wintergreen’s triumph represents resilience against challenges—a story that continues to inspire racing fans worldwide. By seizing victory despite unpredictable variables in horse racing, Wintergreen secured his spot among elite champions while highlighting the skill behind breeding programs supported by individuals like Jerome B. Respess. As each new year brings fresh contenders competing for glory at the Kentucky Derby, we’re reminded how legacies are built from moments where preparation meets opportunity—just like it did for Wintergreeen over a hundred years ago.


1. What were the key factors that contributed to Wintergreen's victory at the 1909 Kentucky Derby?

Wintergreen won the 1909 Kentucky Derby because the jockey rode skillfully, owner Preston Burch trained strategically, and the track conditions were just right for the horse to show off its speed and stamina.

2. How did Wintergreen's ownership and training play a role in his success at the Derby?

Preston Burch owning Wintergreen and Charles Mack training him were key factors in his victory at the 1909 Kentucky Derby. Their careful preparation, smart planning, and skilled guidance brought out the horse's full potential on race day.

3. Who was the jockey who rode Wintergreen to victory in 1909, and what was their background in horse racing?

Vincent Powers, a talented rider with experience in horse racing and victories in major races under his belt, steered Wintergreen to triumph in the 1909 Kentucky Derby.

4. What were the track conditions like during the 1909 Kentucky Derby, and how did they impact the race?

Wintergreen won the 1909 Kentucky Derby because he excelled in the muddy and heavy track conditions. His strong stamina and skill in navigating the challenging terrain played a crucial role in securing his victory during that race.

5. How did Wintergreen's win at the 1909 Kentucky Derby influence future strategies in horse racing?

Wintergreen won the 1909 Kentucky Derby by making smart ownership choices, sticking to a strict training schedule, having a skilled jockey ride him, and adjusting well to the track conditions. This victory showed future champions that focusing on these aspects is crucial for success in horse racing.

6. What is the lasting legacy of Wintergreen's triumph at the 1909 Kentucky Derby in the history of horse racing?

Wintergreen's win at the 1909 Kentucky Derby showed how crucial it is to have a smart owner, well-trained horse, skilled jockey, and good track conditions to succeed in the race. This victory really made a mark in horse racing history!