Champion Ochoa Among 2016 Ruidoso Hall Inductees
The two-time champion joins John and Sue May, trainer Bill Leach, and jockey Casey Lambert in the '16 class.
December 17, 2015
Highly respected owners and breeders John and Sue May are among an impressive 2016 class to be inducted into the Ruidoso Downs’ Racehorse Hall of Fame in June.
Joining the Mays are trainer Bill Leach, jockey Casey Lambert and the champion racehorse Ochoa.
John May died on December 10, 2014, at the age of 84. John and Sue May were married for 61 years and lived in Fort Stockton, Texas, for 60 years. They bred, owned and raced American Quarter Horses for 40 years, and most of the horses were in Sue’s name.
The two-time champion Prospect To The Top is a prime example of their breeding program. The stallion was the 2011 champion two-year-old colt and the 2012 champion aged stallion.
Prospect To The Top was officially bred by Sue, and the Mays also bred his first two dams. Prospect To The Top is by Coronas Prospect, and Sue May owned his dam Fantastic Polly.
Sue May also co-bred champion Easily Smashed, who raced for the partnership of Sue May, trainer Bill Leach and Carol Child. The Mays were among the ownership group of his dam Smash It (TB).
Easily Smashed won the Sun Country Futurity at Sunland Park and then became the 1981 champion three-year-old colt after winning the Kansas Derby and running third in the Rainbow Derby at Ruidoso Downs.
Leach, who won the 1983 Kansas Futurity with Double Dutch Bus, also excelled at training Thoroughbreds. He trained Smash It (TB) to win the Ruidoso Thoroughbred Futurity.
Miss Einstein (TB) was a multiple stakes winner for Leach who earned $105,205 and then became a multiple stakes producer. Co-owned by Leach Racing when competing, Miss Einstein is the dam of stakes winners Mr. Wizard ($441,742), Beau Wizer ($400,562), Lady Genius ($353,142) and Double Smart ($347,698).
Jockey Casey Lambert is the son of 2015 Ruidoso Downs’ Racehorse Hall of Fame inductee Cliff Lambert; they are the first father-son duo in the Hall of Fame.
Casey, 50, retired at the end of the 2015 Ruidoso season and was the leading thoroughbred jockey for the summer meet. He won more than 2,700 Thoroughbred races and more than 500 Quarter Horse races since he began riding at age 16.
The most famous horse that Casey ever rode is Mine That Bird, winner of the 2009 Kentucky Derby. Lambert rode the 3-year-old in the WinStar Derby (now the Grade 3 Sunland Park Derby) that year, just weeks before the horse upset the field at Churchill Downs. He points to Heritage Of Gold, third-place finisher in the 2000 Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff, as the best Thoroughbred he’s ever ridden. He states that 1995 champion aged mare Special Phoebe is the finest Quarter Horse he has ridden.
Owned by Johnny T.L. Jones’ J Bar 7 Ranch, Monty and Katsy Cluck with Doug Benson, Ochoa is the all-time leading money-earning Quarter Horse at $2,781,365. He earned $2,620,553 of that total at Ruidoso Downs.
At Ruidoso Downs, Ochoa won the All American Futurity, Rainbow Derby, Mr Jet Moore Stakes and the All American Derby. He is the sixth horse to win the All American Futurity and the All American Derby. The gelding was the 2011 champion 2-year-old and the 2012 champion 3-year-old.
Trained by Ruidoso Downs’ Racehorse Hall of Famer Sleepy Gilbreath, Ochoa dominated the 2011 All American Futurity by one-and-one-half lengths and the 2012 All American Derby by one-and-one-quarter lengths.
The induction ceremony will be held in June at Ruidoso Downs Racetrack.
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