Welder, the millionaire Oklahoma-bred Thoroughbred that has earned endless records racing in Oklahoma, added another award to his record book the size of the novel "War and Peace." He has added, for the third year in a row, Oklahoma's All-Breeds Horse of the Year, presented by the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission.
The now 8-year-old gray gelded son of The Visualiser, out of the Tiznow mare Dance Softly, owned by Ra-Max Farms (Clayton Rash) of Claremore, Okla., trained by Teri Luneack and ridden by three-time Remington Park Champion Jockey David Cabrera, is the only thoroughbred to have ever won this award more than once. Welder is fresh off being the only thoroughbred horse in Remington Park history to win Horse of the Meet honors three years in a row.
The Oklahoma All-Breeds Horse of the Year award spans Oklahoma-bred Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses, Paints and Appaloosas and is based on annual Oklahoma-bred money earned by any horse on the racetrack among any of those breeds for the year.
"He is a phenomenal horse," said Luneack. "My crew there at the farm makes this whole thing work. It's not always easy to run racehorses from off the track. The hauling and all sure takes its toll."
Only one horse has ever won it more years than Welder, going back to 2001 when the award was first recorded. That was Country Chicks Man, a Quarter Horse that took the prize from 2005-2008. Country Chicks Man was owned by Rafter SM Ranch, which is the property of trainer Sparky Mullins of Wagoner, Okla. Hall of Famers G.R. Carter and Jacky Martin were the regular riders for this horse in those years. Country Chicks Man was a mainstay in stakes company winner's circle photos at Remington Park throughout 2005-2008. He won 13-of-38 races lifetime before being retired in 2009 with $736,793 in his bankroll. Welder has won 26-of-38 starts for $1,204,042.
Welder banked $40,795 in Oklahoma-bred money in his 2020 races, winning the $70,000 Remington Park Turf Sprint, the $130,000 Oklahoma Classics Sprint and the $70,000 Silver Goblin Stakes all at Remington Park. He also was the easy winner in the $55,000 TRAO Classics Sprint at Will Rogers Downs in Claremore for the fifth consecutive year. His $40,795 in Oklahoma-bred money won was about $6,000 more than runner-up Eagles Fly Higher, a Quarter Horse, who had $34,800.
It was the closest race yet for Welder in the past three years for Oklahoma All-Breeds Horse of the Year. He won the 2019 version with $41,620 earned to Thoroughbred filly Alternative Slew's $32,670, and the 2018 title with $48,170 banked compared to Thoroughbred Perfect to Please's $31,348 in second.
Eagles Fly Higher, the Champion Quarter Horse of the Year in Oklahoma, won the $84,000 Sooner State Stakes at Remington Park for Okie-breds. This 5-year-old sorrel is owned by Darling Farms of Lamont, Okla., trained by Casey Black of Augusta, Kan., and ridden by Mario Delgado at Remington Park.
The following is a list of Oklahoma's All-Breeds Horse of the Year winners, their breed, and their Oklahoma-bred money earned for the year, going back to 2001, from the OHRC registrar for that category, Linda Earley:
2020 - Welder (TB), $40,795
2019 - Welder (TB), $41,620
2018 - Welder (TB), $48,170
2017 - VF Red Surprise (QH), $30,954
2016 - AJ High (QH), $39,300
2015 - Shotgun Kowboy (TB), $42,494
2014 - Im A Fancy PYC (QH), $34,750
2013 - More than Even (TB), $38,140
2012 - A Toss Up (QH), $75,500
2011 - Ted's Folly (TB), $76,020
2010 - She's All In (TB), $57,560
2009 - Marq French (TB), $29,000
2008 - Country Chicks Man (QH), $22,500
2007 - Country Chicks Man (QH), $25,000
2006 - Country Chicks Man (QH), $13,410
2005 - Country Chicks Man (QH), $12,050
2004 - Apollos Ten Bears (QH), $11,250
2003 - A Real Man (QH), $15,750
2002 - Dance and Dazzle (TB), $10,650
2001 - Devout Sinner (TB), $12,675