Inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2002
Danny Cardoza made a lasting impression on the Quarter Horse industry as both a jockey and trainer.
Cardoza was riding competitively before AQHA started keeping race records, but between 1970 and his retirement he won more than 3,000 races and rode earners of more than $22 million. He is also the first person to ride and train winners of $1 million races. During his racing career, Cardoza was associated with D. Wayne Lukas, Clarence Scharbauer, Spencer Childers, Leo Wood, Dr. Ed Allred and Don Farris.
“There are about three races that really stick out,” Cardoza said. “Winning the Champion of Champions both times – once with Dashs Dream and once with Gold Coast Express – and winning the All American with Pie In The Sky.”
After retiring in 1991, Cardoza became a trainer for Vessels Stallion Farm in California. He created his own high-profile status by winning a $1 million race as a trainer with Dashing Knud at the Los Alamitos Million in 2000. He also won the 2001 Los Alamitos Million, saddling Your First Moon.
Cardoza favored the American Quarter Horse because of the breed’s overall speed and handle.
“A Thoroughbred might have more stamina than a Quarter Horse, but the Quarter Horse is easier to work with,” Cardoza said. “They are a lot smarter. I’ve team roped my whole life on ex-racehorses. When their race career is over, they make excellent barrel racing, team roping or ranch horses.”
Cardoza was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2002.