Year Inducted: 2023
The little gray yearling went back to the corner of his stall at Mighty Acres Farm in Pryor, Okla., in 2014, but he couldn’t evade the deft eye of trainer Teri Luneack. She saw the perfect conformation and, on the shopping spree with owner Clayton Rash of Claremore, Okla., asked him to negotiate a purchase. Rash wrote a $6,750 check for Welder and six years later he had won more races than any horse in history at Remington Park, 16, accumulating more than $1.2 million in earnings.
Welder was inducted into the Oklahoma Horse Racing Hall of Fame in September 2023. For Rash, who only began racing thoroughbreds in 2013 as Ra-Max Farms, this was a dream come true. Welder was named for Rash, who owned an international welding business.
Welder’s 16th victory at Remington Park came on Aug. 27, 2021, becoming the all-time winningest horse ever in Oklahoma City, surpassing Highland Ice and Elegant Exxactsy, who each won 15 races at Remington Park. Only five months after Welder’s final win, Rash passed away on Jan. 25, 2022.
An Oklahoma-bred gelded son of The Visualiser, out of the Tiznow mare Dance Softly, set a treasure trove of records at the time of his retirement. Wedler retired as an 8-year-old gelding. As a 10-year-old he was accepted into Old Friends in Georgetown, Ky., the home of several horses that won Triple Crown races, including the 1997 Kentucky Derby winner, Silver Charm.
Here’s a look at just some of Welder’s accolades:
• Only Thoroughbred in Oklahoma horse racing history to win All-Breeds Oklahoma Horse of the Year three years in a row, a reward from the Thoroughbred Racing Association of Oklahoma, presented by the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission annually.
• Voted Horse of the Meet at Remington Park three years in a row. No other Thoroughbred has won it more than once.
• Only Thoroughbred in Remington Park history to win four stakes races in one season (2018).
• Set the track record for six furlongs in 1:08.13, winning the David Vance Stakes against open company on Sept. 29, 2019.
• 11 stakes wins, consecutively, a record for most in a row and total stakes victories at Remington Park. He won four Silver Goblins, three Oklahoma Classics Sprints, two David Vance Stakes and two Remington Park Turf Sprints.
• Finished fifth on the all-time Oklahoma-bred earnings list behind Kip Deville, Lady’s Secret, Shotgun Kowboy and Clever Trevor.
Jockey David Cabrera was aboard Welder in 13 of his 16 wins at Remington Park including all his record-setting wins. The other jockeys who scored aboard Welder before he became a record-setting star were Alex Birzer and Travis Cunningham.
Welder’s final record was 44 starts, 27 wins, 5 places, 7 thirds for $1,263,359 in earnings.