C. Dwayne "Sleepy" Gilbreath

C. Dwayne "Sleepy" Gilbreath

Inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2020

2020-2021 HOF Inductees

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C. Dwayne “Sleepy” Gilbreath has built a Hall of Fame career racing American Quarter Horses.

An all-time top-10 leading trainer, Sleepy has conditioned the earners of more than $29 million. He has sent out the winners of more than 40 Grade 1 races in California, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. Three scored in the All American Futurity including On A High in 1983, Refrigerator in 1990, and Ochoa in 2011.

Trained exclusively by Sleepy, Ochoa is the richest Quarter Horse in history, with earnings of $2,781,365. The Tres Seis gelding is the first horse to win $1 million in consecutive years and the only horse to win the industry’s richest race at both 2 and 3 years old. Ochoa’s 2012 campaign made Sleepy one of four trainers to win the All American Derby with the same horse with which he won the previous year’s All American Futurity, and the only trainer to win four runnings of the Derby.

Sleepy also developed and trained champions Yankee Win, Significant Speed, Cold Cash 123, Foxy Moonflash, and Hotstepper.

Winning races at a career clip of more than 19 percent, Sleepy, since 1970 through January 2019, had saddled the winners of 1,428 Quarter Horse races from 7,513 starts. He also sent out 2,161 starters that ran second or third in races.

Already a member of the Ruidoso Downs Racehorse Hall of Fame, Sleepy received AQHA’s Gordon Crone Special Achievement Award in 2019.

“Sleepy has given his life to his horses and trains them with integrity and honor, always putting his horses' health and well-being first,” says breeder Bobby Simmons, who nominated Sleepy for the Gordon Crone.

Sleepy’s life with horses and his wife started early. He met and got to know his wife Joanie Mize who rodeoed, barrel raced, and pole bended at Mesquite Rodeo when they were young.

Sleepy received his nickname and his interest in racehorses at Phillips Ranch.

“I got involved with the Phillips Ranch when I was just a kid, about 14,” he says. “I was working for a horseshoer who did all their shoeing. That’s where I got my name – people thought I was going to sleep while I was holding the horses and they started calling me ‘Sleepy.’ But I wasn’t asleep. I was watching everything and just amazed at what I was seeing. They had some great horses and I got to be around some good horse trainers, racehorse trainers Chuck Taliaferro, Bubba Cascio, Don Farris. I tried to watch and learn every move they’d made.”

C. Dwayne “Sleepy” Gilbreath was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2020.


Biography updated as of August 2021.