Ochoa Takes a Break

The sport's all-time leading money earner will take some time off.

Q-Racing Journal

Ochoa will be resting from racing in 2014. PHOTO: Scott Martinez

Ochoa has earned a sabbatical from the track. American Quarter Horse racing’s all-time leading money earner will be turned out and take 2014 off.

Ochoa has not yet been permanently retired from racing.

“He’s retired for right now,” said Johnny T.L. Jones. “We’re going to give him a year off and then re-evaluate him. Ochoa had a little chip and he has a little tendinitis, and we just want to give him time to rest and recuperate. We’ll see how he does. We want to do what’s best for the horse.”

Ochoa was bred by John Jones Jr. Interests LTD of Lexington, Kentucky, and is owned by Jones’ J Bar 7 Ranch at Quanah, Texas, in partnership with Monty and Katsy Cluck, and Doug Benson. The gelding is one of 45 stakes winners and the earners of more than $16.8 million by Tres Seis and is the first starter of two starters, both winners, out of the maiden Stoli mare Stolis Fortune.

Trained by C. Dwayne “Sleepy” Gilbreath, Ochoa was the champion freshman and champion freshman gelding in 2011 and champion sophomore and champion sophomore gelding the following year. An earner of $2,781,365, Ochoa has won 11 of 16 career races, including the Grade 1 All American Futurity, All American Derby, Rainbow Derby and Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Championship. In his most recent race, Ochoa finished seventh in the Champion of Champions (G1) on December 14.

“Having a horse like Ochoa is like hitting the lottery,” Jones said. “The horse business is a labor of love, and you always hope to have a good horse. I’ve had some nice horses before, but I’ve never had one like Ochoa. He’s something really special, he’s means a lot to us and we want to make sure we do right by him. If he’s not at his best, we won’t bring him back.”

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