KJ Desparado Reaches $3 Million  

All-time leading money earner achieves a once-impossible milestone.

The sport of American Quarter Horse racing’s all-time leading money earner, KJ Desparado, has crossed over the record milestone of $3 million in career earnings. It is the first time in history a racing American Quarter Horse has reached this earnings milestone.

Racing in the $100,000 Refrigerator Handicap (G1) at Lone Star Park on November 28, the bay gelding captured another Grade 1 victory in the race, pulling away to win the 440-yard test in :21.345 to earn $55,000.

His career earnings now stand at $3,031,599.

He became the sport’s all-time leading money earner in August, when he overtook the record of $2,781,365 held by Ochoa for about a decade.

KJ Desparado is a 2019 bay gelding bred by John and Kathy Lee’s L&L Land & Cattle of Chandler, Arizona. They race the horse in partnership with Ruben Mares.

The 2022 champion 3-year-old and champion 3-year-old gelding, KJ Desparado is sired by Apollitical Jess and out of the Tres Seis mare Tres Veses.

From 22 starts, the horse has won 15 races and been second four times.

His accomplishments include winning the 2021 All American Futurity (G1), 2021 Texas Classic Futurity (G1), 2022 Ruidoso Derby (G1), 2022 Texas Classic Derby (G1) and 2023 All American Gold Cup (G1), as well as placings in the 2022 Rainbow Derby (G1), 2022 Championship at Sunland Park (G1) and 2023 Downs at Albuquerque Fall Championship (G1).

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