08/03/2013 2:18PM

Joe Fulton, major Quarter Horse breeder, dead at 81

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Joe Kirk Fulton, who owned and bred the Quarter Horse world champions Dashs Dream (1984) and Special Leader (1991), died of cancer at his ranch near Stonewall, Texas, on Thursday, his family has announced. Fulton was 81.

A native Texan, Fulton’s family had considerable holdings in oil and gas pipelines in the early 20th century, and later invested in banks and ranches. Through his Fulton Quien Sabe ranch in Giddings Texas, Fulton was one of Quarter Horse racing’s most successful and influential breeders.

Aside from his world champions, he bred the stallions Flaming Jet, Mr Eye Opener, Pass ‘Em Up, and Victory Dash. Through 2012, Fulton was the third-leading breeder in Quarter Horse history in money earnings.

Dashs Dream and Special Leader both won the Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos in their title years. Special Leader was later a successful stallion. Fulton, who was also successful with cutting and halter horses, was inducted into the Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2011.

The family has announced that a memorial service will be held at Legacy Center in Lubbock, Texas, at 2 p.m. on Wednesday.