Getting to know trainer Vincent Atkinson

Trainer Vincent Atkinson (right) preparing Chace The Great for a racing engagement.
Trainer Vincent Atkinson (right) preparing Chace The Great for a racing engagement.

KINGSTON, Jamaica – He has trained aboard, now he is back home, enjoying his retirement and still training horses.

He has also had success as an owner winning some prestigious race.

This week we invite readers to meet trainer Vincent Atkinson.

Question (Q): How did you get into horse racing as an occupation?

Vincent Atkinson (VA): Since I was a little kid, I have been following races, coming over the racetrack’s ‘bleachers’ side, racing marbles and stuff like that. Since then, I have just been involved in it. I migrated, went overseas and started training horses. I got my trainer’s licence in 1994 in New Jersey and from there I went over to Belmont, Delaware, Philadelphia Park and Gulf Stream Park until I retired and came back home to have fun and enjoy life.

Q: What year did you graduate to become a trainer?

 VA: As you know, you have to get a different licence to train horses in Jamaica and I got that licence in 2015. But I didn’t start training horses here right away, I started late last year.

Q: Which horse was your first winner?

VA: My first winner as a trainer in Jamaica was Chace the Great at 6-1 on June 26 last year. That was a good day for me as I won two races on that day.

Q: Which is the best horse you have conditioned/owned so far?

VA: That would be Chace the Great again in Jamaica. He is a two-time Caribbean Sprint Champion and, as you are aware, he is still producing credible performances as an eight-year-old.

Q: What are the longest odds that you have ever won?

VA:  My longest odds winner as a 26-1 outsider [was] Danny Spud in the final race on June 26. You can imagine my joy that day, not winning one but two races at good odds. It will always be a day to remember.

Q: Which is the biggest race you have ever won?

VA:  As a trainer the biggest race I have won is Overnight Allowance but as an owner, the Caribbean Sprint with Chace the Great, as I mentioned earlier.

Q: Which is the best horse you have seen run at Caymanas Park?

VA: Without a doubt, She’s A Maneater. She was a devastating filly until she became a mare, and even in retirement her ratings are still high as she was very hard to beat.

Q: How would you sum up last year’s performances by your horses?

VA: Last year was an interesting year. With five horses, I ended up with about four or five wins from about 20 entries, so it was a reasonable year. No complaints.

Q: What are your expectations for the 2021 race calendar?

VA: The expectations for this year remain high because you always want to keep on improving on your number of wins, but that all goes with the condition of the horses and how sound they remain. That, I think, determines how far you can get with them where winning races [is] concerned.

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