The breeding of Joe Blair and Della Moore was unplanned and unknown to everybody but a few grooms.
An assorted group of grooms, jockeys and exercise riders were drinking and shooting craps in the spring of 1920. The celebrated Joe Blair and fleet-footed Della Moore were causing a ruckus so the grooms put the two horses together.
During the following months, Della Moore’s owner, Henry Lindsey, could not understand why the mare kept getting bigger throughout 1920 and into 1921. Lindsey and his trainer began cutting back on feed trying to draw down the mare’s growing belly.
In the spring of 1921, Della Moore foaled a chestnut colt, but was in no condition to nurse. Lindsey named the colt Joe Reed, started him on a bottle, and sent Della Moore back to racing.
Eventually, Lindsey checked on the colt and found Joe Reed in a cotton patch nearly starved to death. Feeling ashamed, Lindsey brought Joe Reed to a dry lot and began feeding him.
Over the next few years, Joe Reed ran in races across the Midwest and in Oklahoma and Texas. A majority of the races were five-eighths of a mile or better. “Joe” could not run that far, but under a quarter of mile he was greased lightning. John Wesley House of Cameron, Texas, watched the stallion run, liked what he saw and persuaded Lindsey to sell the 5-year-old.
House never returned Joe Reed to prime racing shape, using him primarily as a breeding stallion. Two of the stallion’s most prominent sons were Red Joe of Arizona, and Joe Reed II, who sired Leo.
In 1938, House sold the aging stallion to Dr. J. J. Slankard of Elk City, Oklahoma. Late in his life Joe Reed was given the No. 3 in the AQHA stud book.
Joe Reed died of a heart attack in 1947. He was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1992.
Biography updated as of March 1992.