With a bad left knee and an injured right foot, Joe Reed II did not have a lot in his favor. At least not as a racehorse, but the sorrel stallion had courage, heart and speed.
Bred and born on John Wesley House’s ranch near Cameron, Texas, Joe Reed II was by Joe Reed and out of Nellene by Fleeting Time (TB). The sorrel was born in 1936 and impressed House with his looks.
As a foal, Joe injured his left knee on barbed wire and spent his early years hobbling around. This did not deter Bert Wood of Arizona. It took some doing, but Wood convinced House to sell the 5-year-old stallion.
“Joe” was 7 when Wood entered the gimpy stallion in a Class B race at Hacienda Moltacqua racetrack. Joe had never seen a starting gate or run down a straightaway, but Wood still believed in his horse.
“Some horses are born to run,” Wood said. “Joe Reed II was one of those. It didn’t matter how old he was or how crippled. He did what he’d been born to do.”
Joe won his first race by half a length and the second by two lengths. His third race was the championship speed trials at Moltacqua. Joe Reed II beat the great Clabber, but busted his knee wide open during the race, ending his career.
The races were run in a three-week span and the performances earned Joe the 1942-1943 World Champion Racing Stallion title. It took a little while for Joe’s popularity to catch on as a stallion. His first year at stud, he was bred to only range mares, which were at best described as average. By 1947, however, he was commanding a $100 stud fee and Wood was turning away horsemen.
Joe Reed II sired cutting, roping and running horses. His best known son was Leo, a 1989 AQHA Hall of Fame inductee. Other well-known get were Little Sister W, Joak, Joe Queen and Tonta Lad, all AAA runners.
Joe Reed II died in 1966 at 30. He was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1994.
Biography updated as of March 1994.