Ted Wells Jr.
Inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2015
A member of the Oklahoma Quarter Horse, the Oklahoma Horse Racing and the Ruidoso Downs halls of fame, Ted Wells Jr.’s peers were some of the most respected horsemen in the industry.
“He had so many good friends in the industry: Jay Pumphrey, Bud Warren, Walter Merrick, Jack Brooks, guys like that,” Ted’s son Scott says. “Dad was very grateful for the opportunities to get to know and work with men like them, guys who respected his horsemanship enough to give him good stock.”
Merrick respected the young man so much that he sent the track-record-setting Bob’s Folly to him, and later Lena’s Bar, the Thoroughbred mare who beat Quarter Horses at their own game and became the dam of Easy Jet.
Having worked as a young cowboy on the Four Sixes Ranch, Ted in 1964 was offered a chance to train racehorses for the Burnett Estate by then-manager Jay Pumphrey. He soon won the Sunland Fall Futurity with the Burnett-bred Peggy Toro, who became the dam of champion Easy Six.
Ted also conditioned Savannah Jr to win the 1965 All American Futurity, a triumph that put his name in lights before the public at large. The champion colt at ages 2 and 3, Savannah Jr left the track with then-record earnings of $280,992.
In the 1970s, Ted served on the AQHA Racing Committee and two terms as president of the Oklahoma Horsemen’s Association, where he was influential in securing pari-mutuel racing in the state.
Ted retired from the racetrack in 1968 and began breeding horses full time. By the early 1970s, Wells Ranch in Oklahoma was one of the leading stud farms in the nation. Along with Pumphrey and friend Lee McLean, Wells formed Speed Farms, one of the most successful breeding partnerships of that era.
Ted dispersed his bloodstock in 1986 to raise cattle in Osage County, Oklahoma, near where he grew up in Pawhuska and where he continued as an avid steer roper until age 81, always riding a good American Quarter Horse.
Ted, who died in September 2011 at age 87, grew up riding good Quarter Horses on his father’s ranch in Oklahoma before AQHA was founded. He inherited a legacy, knew what to do with it and made the most of it.
Ted Wells Jr. was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2015.